Skip to main content

Full text of "History Of Speech Education In America Background Studies"

See other formats

History  of  speech  education  in 

371*914  W19h      55-07958 
Wallace   $7,50 

History  of  speech  education  in 
America • 

kansas  city         public  library 

••»*    Kansas  city,  missouri 

Books  will  be  issued  only 

on  presentation  of  library  card. 
Please  report  lost  cards  and 

change  of  residence  promptly. 
Card  holders  are  responsible  for 

all  books,  records,  films,  pictures 
or  other  library  materials 
checked  out  on  their  cards. 

'flif  f  »-    <-• 


OCT  15 1964    ', 

MAR  2  2  1966 


.  /I 





History  of 

Speech  Education  in  America 



Speech  Association  of  America 

KARL  E.  WALLACE,  Editor 




Editorial  Board 

New  York 

COPYRIGHT,  1954,  BY 

AU  rights  reserved.  This  book,  or  parts 
thereof,  must  not  be  reproduced  in  any 
form  without  permission  of  the  publishers. 


Library  of  Congress  Card  Number: 



This  volume  of  studies  was  undertaken  early  in  1948  with  the  official 
sanction  of  the  Speech  Association  of  America.  Since  the  early  1930's, 
the  Association's  Committee  on  the  History  of  Speech  Education,  under 
the  leadership  of  Giles  Gray,  A.  M.  Drummond,  and  Bert  Emsley, 
helped  to  secure  the  interest  of  scholars  and  teachers  in  the  history  and 
tradition  of  the  field  of  Speech  as  it  has  unfolded  in  the  United  States. 
Committee  members  themselves  engaged  in  historical  studies,  and 
some  of  their  own  labors  are  represented  in  this  volume.  They  cajoled 
an  occasional  graduate  student  into  unearthing  materials  and  preparing 
theses  that  helped  to  reveal  the  foundations  of  old  meaning  and  to 
beget  new  vigor  for  modern  precept  and  practice.  By  mid-1947  the 
Committee— and  many  other  persons  concerned  with  the  backgrounds 
of  pedagogy— believed  that  the  time  had  come  for  a  joint,  systematic 
project  of  considerable  magnitude.  The  early  studies  had  not  only 
provided  valuable  information  about  the  teaching  of  Speech  in 
America;  they  pointed  to  bibliographic  resources  and  suggested  many 
directions  of  profitable  research.  In  December,  1947?  upon  recom- 
mendation of  the  Committee,  the  Association  authorized  this  volume 
of  papers  and  selected  the  Editorial  Board. 

For  six  years  this  book  has  been  in  preparation.  Aided  by  the  Com- 
mittee, the  Board  set  up  a  chronological  list  of  topics.  The  list  gave 
some  system  to  the  project  and  the  topics  are  reflected,  for  the  most 
part,  in  the  chapter  headings.  Readers,  however,  should  not  regard  the 
chronological  progression  as  an  attempt  to  write  definitive  history.  Be- 
fore a  "final"  history  of  speech  education  can  be  prepared,  we  need  the 
work  of  many  future  scholars  who  will  furnish  the  facts  as  to  who 
taught  what,  and  where,  and  how.  We  believe,  nevertheless,  that  the 
studies  included  here  supply  significant  information  and  afford  inter- 
pretations which  must  be  reckoned  with  by  future  historians  of  the 
subject.  They  organize  much  that  has  already  been  done;  they  offer 
much  that  is  new. 

The  scope  of  the  studies  covers  American  speech  education  from 
Colonial  times  to  about  1925.  But  because  most  of  the  streams  in 


American  education  have  their  tributaries  in  English  and  classical 
sources,  three  articles  focus  on  the  springs  and  currents  which  flowed 
long  before  New  England  and  Virginia  schools  and  colleges  were 

The  main  current  bears  the  formal  label  of  Rhetoric,  the  art  of  verbal 
communication.  We  are  mainly  concerned  in  this  book,  not  with  writ- 
ing, but  with  speaking—with  the  use  of  speech  in  socially  significant 
situations  and  the  attempts  to  teach  the  art  of  oral  communication  in  a 
formal  educational  environment.  Rhetoric  so  conceived  gave  rise  to  a 
number  of  branches  of  study.  It  gave  impetus  to  the  study  of  style  and 
speech  composition,  to  the  study  of  elocution  and  delivery,  to  the 
analysis  of  speech  sounds,  and  to  phonetics  and  pronunciation.  It  gave 
considerable  impetus,  also,  to  the  art  of  composition  and  delivery  in 
the  theatre.  If  these  may  be  thought  of  as  the  chief  branches  of  rhetoric, 
it  seems  clear  that  the  branches  divide  and  subdivide,  gathering 
strength  in  studies  other  than  rhetoric,  until  they  establish  their  own 
currents  which  we  designate  today  by  such  terms  as  speech  correction 
and  pathology,  oral  interpretation,  educational  dramatics,  and  the  arts 
of  mass  communication— radio  and  television. 

About  all  of  these  branches,  except  radio  and  television,  this  book 
has  something  to  say.  In  other  words,  it  focuses  upon  systematic  educa- 
tion in  speech  as  it  has  been  manifested  in  the  college  and  the  school. 

The  terminal  date,  1925,  has  not  emerged  inviolate.  In  some  ways  it 
provided  a  logical  stopping  point,  for  by  the  1920's  the  basic  lines  of 
speech  instruction  had  been  recognized  academically,  at  least  in  the 
American  college.  The  study  of  phonetics  and  speech  correction,  both 
in  course  and  in  clinic,  had  taken  root;  dramatics  had  found  its  niche; 
oral  interpretation  had  its  ally  in  literature;  public  speaking  and  dis- 
cussion had  been  taught  effectively  outside  of  the  traditional  courses  in 
English  composition;  undergraduate  and  graduate  majors  in  speech 
had  been  formally  established.  By  and  large,  what  has  happened  since 
the  1920's  in  the  field  of  Speech  reflects  the  influence  of  increasing 
specialization  and  the  application  of  basic  knowledges  and  skills  to 
meet  professional  requirements  in  a  professionally  minded  society.  An 
account  of  such  developments,  especially  in  education  for  radio  and 
television,  will  have  to  be  told  later.  The  reader  will  discover,  further- 
more, that  in  a  few  instances,  chiefly  in  the  article  dealing  with  inter- 
collegiate debating  and  in  the  chapters  treating  of  the  professional 
societies,  which  did  much  to  foster  speech  education,  the  significant 
story  had  to  include  certain  events  in  the  1930's  and  the  1940V  The 
character  of  the  American  Educational  Theatre  Association,  for  ex- 
ample, did  not  emerge  clearly  until  the  last  decade. 

The  Editorial  Board  fully  acknowledges  the  fine  co-operation  of  the 


contributors.  Many  of  them  are  recognized  as  authorities  in  their  lines 
of  study.  They  were  asked  to  take  a  fresh  look  at  their  materials,  to 
extend  their  research,  and  to  prepare  new  studies.  This  they  gladly  did. 
A  few  of  the  authors  were  asked  to  undertake  what  to  them  were  new 
lines  of  investigation.  They,  too,  responded  superbly.  The  results,  we 
feel,  are  worth  the  close  observation  and  critical  analysis  which  both 
mature  scholars  and  graduate  students  in  Speech  can  exercise. 

We  are  grateful  to  our  publishers  and  their  editorial  assistants  whose 
faith  in  this  venture  is  as  great  as  ours.  The  Speech  Association  of 
America  stands  in  heavy  debt  to  members  of  the  Editorial  Board,  par- 
ticularly Professor  Hewitt,  whose  labors  were  often  beyond  routine 
endeavor.  To  Professor  Haberman  goes  deep  appreciation  for  the 
preparation  of  the  index.  And  to  the  contributors,  I  express  my  per- 
sonal respect  and  admiration.  Many  of  them  have  graciously  borne  our 
editorial  suggestions,  requests,  revisions,  liberties,  and  idiosyncrasies. 
Such  credit  as  this  work  may  deserve  belongs  entirely  to  them.  I  alone 
must  bear  its  shortcomings. 



PREFACE      ........  .  v 




1.  English  Backgrounds  of  Rhetoric         WILBUR  SAMUEL  HOWELL        1 

2.  Rhetorical  Theory  in  Colonial  America  WARREN  GUTHRIE      48 

3.  Rhetorical  Practice  in  Colonial  America        GEORGE  v.  BOHMAN      60 

4.  English  Sources  of  Rhetorical  Theory  in  Nineteenth-Century 

America    .  ...  CLARENCE  w.  EDNEY       80 

5.  English  Sources  of  American  Elocution     .  105 




6.  American  Contributions  to  Rhetorical  Theory  and  Homiletics    129 


7.  Rhetorical  and  Elocutionary  Training  in  Nineteenth-Century 

Colleges      .         .  MARIE  HOCHMUTH  AND  RICHARD  MURPHY       153 

8.  The  Elocutionary  Movement  and  Its  Chief  Figures        .          178 


9.  Steele  MacKaye  and  the  Delsartian  Tradition        .  202 


jyp     Dr.  James  Rush  ,  .       LESTER  L.  HALE    219 

11.  The  Literary  Society  .  .          DAVID  POTTER    238 

12.  Intercollegiate  Debating  ....          259 





IS.    Speech  Education  in  Nineteenth-Century  Schools  .  277 


14.  Five  Private  Schools  of  Speech  .       EDYTH  RENSHAW    301 

15.  Phonetics  and  Pronunciation  326 


16.  The  Rise  of  Experimental  Phonetics  JAMES  F.  CURTIS    348 

17.  Some  Symbolic  Systems  for  Teaching  the  Deaf  370 


18.  Development  of  Education  in  Speech  and  Hearing  to  1920  .     389 


19.  Some  Teachers  and  the  Transition  to  Twentieth-Century 

Speech  Education    .      .  GILES  WILKESON  GRAY     422 

20.  Origin  and  Development  of  Departments  of  Speech  .      .  447 


21.  Speech  Education  in  Twentieth-Century  Public  Schools  471 


22.  National  Speech  Organizations  and  Speech  Education  .      ,     490 




23.  Educational  Dramatics  in  Nineteenth-Century  Colleges  523 


24.  The  Private  Theatre  Schools  in  the  Late  Nineteenth  Century    552 


25.  College  and  University  Theatre  Instruction  in  the  Early 

Twentieth  Century  .      .  CLIFFORD  EUGENE  HAMAR    572 

26.  Dramatics  in  the  High  Schools,  1900-1925         .    PAUL  KOZELKA    595 

27.  Professional  Theatre  Schools  in  the  Early  Twentieth  Century    617 


28.  National  Theatre  Organizations  and  Theatre  Education        ,     641 

INDEX  .  675 

The  Heritage 

JL      English  Backgrounds  of  Rhetoric 


The  present  volume  aims  to  describe  America's  experience  in  edu- 
cating citizens  for  the  duties  of  oral  communication.  This  experience  is 
part  of  the  history  of  education  in  the  new  world;  it  is  also  a  com- 
mentary upon  our  cultural  and  political  history  in  every  period  of  our 
development  from  colonial  community  to  continental  nation.  Several 
articles  in  the  ensuing  pages  will  examine  the  various  theories  that  have 
guided  American  educators  in  preparing  students  to  speak  in  public. 
Still  other  articles  will  discuss  that  strange  phenomenon,  the  "elocu- 
tionary" movement  in  Britain  and  America  during  the  nineteenth 
century.  Still  other  articles  will  explore  American  contributions  to 
phonetics  and  lexicography;  American  experiments  with  theatre  arts 
as  an  academic  study;  American  interest  in  intercollegiate  debating; 
and  American  regard  for  the  college  literary  and  forensic  society  as  the 
nurse  of  future  statesmen,  educators,  lawyers,  preachers.  The  reader 
of  these  pages  will  encounter  names  already  well  known  to  him:  John 
Witherspoon,  signer  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence,  who  was 
professor  of  rhetorical  studies  in  eighteenth-century  Princeton,  and  who 
lectured  on  eloquence  to  James  Madison  and  a  generation  that  was  to 
give  us  our  present  nation;  John  Quincy  Adams,  sixth  president  of  the 
United  States,  who  as  first  Boylston  Professor  of  Rhetoric  and  Oratory 
at  Harvard  brought  to  his  students  a  gifted  revaluation  of  the  rhetorical 
teachings  of  Cicero  and  Quintilian;  Woodrow  Wilson,  who  coached 
debating  teams  at  Princeton  during  his  career  as  professor  of  politics. 
There  are  other  famous  names  in  these  pages,  Noah  Webster  and 
Henry  Ward  Beecher,  for  example,  not  to  mention  men  and  women 
prominent  as  public  readers,  lecturers,  actors,  and  teachers  of  dra- 
matics. These  and  many  others  will  receive  attention  here,  as  their 
part  in  the  development  of  rhetorical  education  in  America  is  noticed. 

My  purpose  in  this  first  essay  of  the  present  volume  is  to  describe 



show  his  enduring  regard  for  eloquence  as  the  product  of  these  five 

Well  then,  ...  to  praise  eloquence,  to  set  forth  its  power  and  the  honours 
which  it  brings  to  those  who  have  it,  is  not  my  present  purpose,  nor  is  it  nec- 
essary. However,  this  one  thing  I  venture  to  affirm  without  fear  of  contradic- 
tion, that  whether  it  is  a  product  of  rules  and  theory,  or  a  technique  depend- 
ent on  practice,  or  on  natural  gifts,  it  is  one  attainment  amongst  all  others  of 
unique  difficulty.  For  of  the  five  elements  of  which,  as  we  say,  it  is  made  up, 
each  one  is  in  its  own  right  a  great  art.  One  may  guess  therefore  what  power 
is  inherent  in  an  art  made  up  of  five  great  arts,  and  what  difficulty  it  presents.4 

An  art  made  up  of  five  great  arts— this  is  the  Ciceronian  thesis  about 
rhetoric.  The  most  thorough  commentary  in  classical  Roman  times  upon 
these  five  arts,  as  treated  by  Cicero  and  many  lesser  writers,  is  Quin- 
tilian's  Institutio  Oratoria,  a  work  of  great  scholarship  and  genuine 
human  interest.  These  five  arts  in  Cicero  and  Quintilian  have  an 
elaborate  subject  matter,  which  cannot  at  this  time  be  explained.  Some 
of  this  subject  matter  will  become  apparent  as  my  discussion  proceeds. 
Most  of  it  will  have  to  be  treated  here  in  round  terms,  if  space  is  to  be 
conserved  for  the  main  topics  of  this  essay.  It  may  for  the  moment  be 
sufficient  to  say  that  the  first  of  these  terms,  Invention,  stands  for  the 
processes  of  analysis  by  which  the  speaker  finds  material  for  his 
speeches,  whereas  the  second  term,  Arrangement,  means  the  processes 
of  synthesis  or  combination  by  which  material  is  put  into  order  for 
presentation.  The  other  terms,  Style,  Memory,  and  Delivery,  have  a 
more  obvious  application  to  the  speaker's  total  problem,  and  they  need 
not  be  made  the  subject  of  special  explanation  now. 

Many  English  rhetorics  in  the  period  of  my  present  discussion  recog- 
nize these  five  terms  of  Ciceronian  rhetoric  as  the  major  heads  of  the 
theory  of  communication.  Other  English  rhetorics  recognize  three  or 
four  of  these  terms.  Whenever  these  terms  or  a  majority  of  them  are 
mentioned  by  Englishmen  as  the  basic  concepts  of  rhetorical  theory, 
and  are  then  treated  in  such  a  way  as  to  stress  the  priority  of  Invention 
above  the  others,  the  rhetoric  thus  created  becomes  Ciceronian  in  the 
present  sense  in  which  I  am  using  the  word. 

This  Ciceronian  pattern  of  English  rhetoric  begins  historically  with 
Alcuin,  the  first  Englishman  to  compose  a  rhetorical  work  with  Cicero's 
five  procedures  explicitly  enumerated  and  discussed  in  the  traditional 
way.  Alcuin  was  born  in  the  year  735,  the  date  of  Bede's  death,  and  he 
was  educated  in  England  under  scholars  who  had  known  and  admired 
Bede.  The  fame  of  the  new  English  learning,  to  which  Bede  had  greatly 
contributed,  was  recognized  throughout  Europe  during  the  eighth  cen- 
tury; so  recognized,  indeed,  that  Alcuin  was  invited  at  length  to  France 


by  Charlemagne,  and  there  given  the  task  of  establishing  a  system  of 
education  for  the  emerging  French  nation.  Alcuin's  De  Rhetorica,  com- 
posed in  Latin  in  the  year  794  as  a  dialogue  between  himself  and  his 
royal  patron,  is  one  of  the  works  he  produced  in  carrying  out  his  educa- 
tional mission; 5  another  is  his  De  Dialectica,  the  first  work  by  an  Eng- 
lishman on  that  subject. 

Alcuin's  De  Rhetorica  devotes  most  of  its  space  to  Invention,  which 
Cicero  had  considered  to  be  of  overwhelming  importance  to  oratory. 
Ciceronian  Invention,  as  I  suggested  above,  is  the  process  by  which  a 
speaker  analyzes  his  subject  and  thus  determines  the  subject  matter  of  his 
speech.  This  process  involves  several  steps.  One  step  consists  in  decid- 
ing whether  the  prospective  speech  is  to  be  Ceremonial,  Deliberative,  or 
Forensic;  this  decision  teaches  the  speaker  whether  to  emphasize  honor, 
expediency,  or  justice  in  his  speech,  and  once  he  knows  which  of  these 
to  emphasize,  he  has  some  of  the  subject  matter  he  needs.  Another  step 
consists  in  placing  his  prospective  subject  within  one  of  the  nine  pos- 
tures or  positions  that  controversies  occupy,  to  the  end  that  he  may  use 
the  lines  of  argument  naturally  available  in  that  particular  position. 
These  nine  positions  cannot  here  be  explained;  but  they  involve  the 
Latin  concept  of  constitutio  or  status,  and  are  in  rhetorical  theory 
equivalent  to  the  concept  of  topics  or  places  in  dialectical  theory  as  ex- 
pounded in  Cicero's  Topics  and  Aristotle's  similar  work.6  The  third  step 
in  the  process  of  devising  subject  matter  for  a  speech  consists  in  think- 
ing of  possible  materials  to  be  used  in  getting  attention  during  the  Intro- 
duction, and  of  possible  materials  to  be  used  in  each  one  of  the  other 
five  standard  parts  of  the  classical  oration.  Now  these  three  steps  involve 
the  largest  part  of  Cicero's  theory  of  rhetorical  Invention;  and  Alcuin's 
De  Rhetorica  covers  the  subject  of  Invention  in  the  same  terms. 

Alcuin  gives  almost  no  space  to  Arrangement,  the  second  of  the  con- 
ventional topics,  thanks  to  the  fact  that  in  Ciceronian  theory  Invention 
covers  part  of  Arrangement  by  dealing  with  the  six  standard  parts  of 
the  oration,  and  Style  covers  another  part  by  dealing  with  the  ordering 
of  words  in  sentences.  As  for  Style,  Alcuin  speaks  of  it  in  such  fashion 
as  to  indicate  only  a  fraction  of  that  part  of  Ciceronian  theory,  but, 
even  so,  Style  ranks  next  after  Invention  in  the  amount  of  space  he 
devotes  to  it.  He  gives  none  of  the  lore  of  Memory  as  set  forth  in  such 
works  as  the  Rhetorica  ad  Herennium;  he  merely  quotes  Cicero's  defini- 
tion of  it  as  given  in  De  Oratore,  and  warns  that  it  is  improved  by  exer- 
cise and  harmed  by  drunkenness.  To  Delivery,  the  fifth  part  of  the 
Ciceronian  system,  Alcuin  devotes  about  half  as  much  space  as  he  had 
given  to  Style.  Thereafter  he  ends  the  dialogue  by  speaking  briefly  of 
the  four  cardinal  virtues  in  relation  to  the  Christian  concept  of  love. 

Alcuin's  De  Rhetorica  is  not  merely  a  treatise  based  upon  Cicero.  It 


is  rather  an  abridged  edition  of  De  Inventions,  so  far  as  its  treatment  of 
the  first  part  of  rhetoric  is  concerned;  and  a  mosaic  of  phrases  from  De 
Oratore  and  Orator,  so  far  as  the  other  parts  are  concerned.  These 
phrases  from  the  two  latter  works  probably  came  to  Alcuin  from  Julius 
Victor,  a  rhetorician  of  the  fourth  century  A.  r».,  whose  Ars  Rhetorica 
bases  itself  more  broadly  in  Ciceronian  theory  than  does  Alcuin  s  Da 
Rhetorical  Despite  his  unwillingness  to  venture  away  from  his  sources, 
Alcuin  deserves  credit  for  his  skilful  summary  of  the  important  parts 
of  the  ancient  scheme.  His  De  Khetorica  is  an  attractive  little  work, 
quite  apart  from  the  interest  it  holds  as  the  first  statement  by  an  Eng- 
lishman of  the  five  procedures  of  Cicero's  theory  of  communication. 

"With  the  death  of  Alcuin,"  remarks  Atkins,  "the  tradition  of  learn- 
ing in  England  underwent  a  prolonged  eclipse."  B  This  observation 
applies  with  particular  force  to  Ciceronian  rhetoric,  for  it  was  several 
centuries  after  Alcuin  that  interest  in  the  five  procedures  began  to 
reassert  itself.  In  fact,  this  interest  does  not  seem  to  reappear  among 
English  writers  until  the  early  thirteenth  century,  when  Geoffrey  of 
Vinsauf  used  Cicero's  terms  as  the  basis  of  his  Poetrw  Nova.0  We  shall 
have  occasion  later  to  examine  Geoffrey's  use  of  these  terms  in  poetical 
theory  when  we  discuss  Stephen  Hawes'  The  Pastime  of  Pleasure,  a 
poetical  work  of  the  early  sixteenth  century,  which  also  treats  the  art  of 
poetry  as  a  manifestation  of  Ciceronian  rhetoric.  Hawes  is  the  first 
Englishman  to  make  his  own  language  deliver  Cicero's  five  terms.  This 
fact  may  remind  us  of  the  acceptance  of  English  in  the  fourteenth  cen- 
tury as  the  official  medium  of  instruction  in  Britain  10-a  development 
which  hastened  the  rise  of  vernacular  learning. 

Before  we  reach  the  sixteenth  century  and  the  complete  vernaculari- 
zation  of  Ciceronian  rhetoric,  a  Latin  work  in  Cicero's  idiom  should  be 
mentioned  as  part  of  the  history  of  rhetoric  in  England,  even  though  its 
author  was  an  Italian.  This  work,  usually  called  the  $[ova  Rhetorica,  has 
the  distinction  of  being  the  first  work  on  ^rhetoric  ever  to  be  printed  in 
England.  It  appeared  at  Caxton  s~"press  in  "Westmin^ter-dbotrt  1479; 
another  edition  dated  1480  bears  the  imprint  of  St.  Albans,  and  is 
regarded  as  no  doubt  the  first  book  to  be  printed  at  that  press  by 
Caxton's  contemporary,  "the  Schoolmaster  Printer."11 

The  Nova  Rhetorica  is  the  work  of  Lorenzo  Guglielmo  Traversagni 
Traversagni  was  descended  from  a  wealthy  and  noble  family  in  Savona, 
Italy,  and  became  a  member  of  the  Franciscan  order  in  that  town  at  the 
age  of  twenty.  He  received  instruction  and  the  title  of  doctor  from  his 
teachers  at  the  monastery,  one  of  whom  was  Francesco  dalla  Rovere, 
later  Pope  Sixtus  IV.  His  active  years  were  spent  as  a  traveling  scholar: 
he  studied  logic,  philosophy,  theology,  and  canon  law  at  Padua  and 
Bologna;  he  later  lectured  on  theology  at  Cambridge,  Paris,  and  Tou- 


louse.  It  was  during  his  sojourn  at  Cambridge  that  he  composed  his 
Nova  Rhetorica;  in  fact,  he  tells  us  at  the  conclusion  of  that  work  of  his 
having  finished  it  July  6,  1478,  at  Cambridge.  At  that  time  he  was  fifty- 
six  years  of  age.  His  teaching  career  in  foreign  parts  ended  at  Toulouse 
when  he  was  seventy.  Thereafter  he  lived  at  the  Franciscan  monastery 
in  his  native  Savona,  where  he  spent  his  last  years  writing,  teaching, 
collecting  books,  and  bestowing  benefactions  upon  his  cloister.  He  died 
March  5,  1503,  at  the  age  of  eighty-one,  leaving  behind  many  works  in 
manuscript,  and  one  published  work,  the  Nova  Rhetorical 

The  Nova  Rhetorica  is  thoroughly  Ciceronian  in  the  sense  in  which 
that  term  is  here  being  used.  It  contains  an  introduction  and  three  books 
of  doctrine.  The  introduction  recalls  the  benefit,  the  splendor,  and  the 
glory  conferred  in  past  time  upon  wise  men  and  great  commonwealths 
by  copiousness  in  speaking.  The  following  books  treat  the  five  topics  of 
Cicero's  rhetoric,  In  Book  I  Invention  is  discussed  as  it  pertains  to  the 
conventional  six  parts  of  the  Forensic  oration;  and  in  the  first  pages  of 
Book  II,  as  it  pertains  to  Deliberative  and  Ceremonial  speaking.  The 
topic  of  Arrangement  occupies  the  closing  pages  of  Book  II.  The  final 
book  is  devoted  mainly  to  Style,  although  Memory  and  Delivery  are 
each  given  more  than  a  merely  perfunctory  recognition.  A  student  of 
English  rhetoric  describes  the  Nova  Rhetorica  as  "scholastic  in  tone, 
with  frequent  reference  to  the  fathers  of  the  Church,  as  St.  Bernard,  St. 
Anselm,  St.  Basil,  Beda,  etc."13  This  remark  applies  particularly  to 
Traversagnfs  analysis  of  Style,  where  by  mentioning  the  fathers  and 
by  making  frequent  quotations  from  the  Bible,  he  indicates  the  special 
applicability  of  pagan  rhetoric  to  preaching. 

Traversagni  uses  the  terms  of  Ciceronian  rhetoric  in  Cicero's  native 
language,  as  Alcuin  had  done.  Six  years  after  Traversagnfs  death,  those 
terms  spoke  English  for  the  first  time.  As  I  mentioned  before,  the 
responsible  agent  in  this  development  was  Stephen  Hawes*  Pastime  of 
Pleasure,  an  attractive  allegory  of  learning  written  in  verse  and  pub- 
lished in  1509.14  The  Pastime  is  modeled  upon  an  earlier  verse  allegory 
in  English,  The  Court  of  Sapience,  which  Hawes  himself  believed  to  be 
the  work  of  Lydgate,15  and  which  had  been  published  by  Caxton 
around  1481.  There  are  two  interesting  differences  between  the  treat- 
ment of  rhetoric  in  the  Court  and  in  the  Pastime,  despite  the  influence 
of  the  former  upon  the  latter.  The  Court  devotes  only  six  seven-line 
stanzas  to  rhetoric,  whereas  the  Pastime  devotes  to  that  subject  ninety- 
two  seven-line  stanzas;  and  the  Court  discusses  rhetoric  in  stylistic 
terms,  referring  the  reader  meanwhile  to  Balbus  de  Janua's  Catholicon 
and  Geoffrey  of  Vinsauf  s  Poetria  Nova  for  further  information,  where- 
as the  Pastime  discusses  rhetoric  in  terms  of  the  five  procedures  of  the 
Ciceronian  tradition,  and  uses  the  Poetria  Nova  for  material  relating  to 


those  terms.  Thus  the  Court;  stands  as  the  earliest  English  version  of  the 
philosophy  behind  stylistic  rhetoric,  and  will  be  referred  to  again  when 
I  discuss  that  pattern.  The  Pastime,  however,  can  claim  to  be  the  earliest 
version  in  English  of  the  basic  pattern  which  Alcuin  and  Traversagni 
had  followed. 

The  Pastime,  which  runs  to  5816  lines  of  verse  arranged  into  forty-six 
chapters  or  cantos,  tells  the  story  of  the  poet,  La  Graunde  Arnoure,  in 
quest  of  a  beautiful  lady,  La  Bell  Pucell.  The  quest  requires  the  poet  to 
visit  the  Tower  of  Doctrine  and  the  Tower  of  Chivalry  on  his  way  to 
the  Tower  Perilous,  where  dwells  the  lady.  In  the  Tower  of  Doctrine  he 
receives  essential  preparation  for  his  quest  in  the  form  of  instruction 
in  the  seven  liberal  arts,  third  of  which  is  rhetoric.  Lady  "Rethoryke" 
instructs  the  poet  in  her  art  and  with  dramatic  propriety  gives  him  the 
sort  of  instruction  that  more  befits  the  poet  than  the  orator.  Neverthe- 
less, she  explains  her  subject  as  if  Cicero  were  outlining  the  steps  in 
oratorical  composition.16 

First  she  speaks  of  "inuencyon."  This  she  describes  as  the  product  of 
five  faculties:  common  wit,  imagination,  fantasy,  judgment,  memory. 
Her  description  of  these  faculties  does  not  depend  upon  anything  from 
the  accepted  explanation  of  rhetorical  Invention  as  set  forth,  for 
example,  by  Alcuin;  for  she  is  bent  upon  making  rhetorical  theory  help 
in  the  composition  of  poetry  as  well  as  prose,  or  of  poetry  more  than 
prose.  Still,  she  keeps  the  name  of  rhetoric,  and  she  sets  forth  the  first 
division  of  her  subject  under  the  term  sanctioned  by  Cicero. 

The  second  division  of  her  subject  she  calls  "dysposycyon."  Here  she 
speaks  of  ways  to  organize  narrative  and  argumentative  compositions. 
Narratio  is  a  standard  part  of  the  classical  oration  described  in  Cicero- 
nian rhetoric,  and  the  theory  of  narratio  in  oratory  is  applicable  to  poetry. 
Thus  Lady  "Rethoryke"  is  not  outside  Ciceronian  rhetoric  on  this  topic, 
although  her  emphasis  is  not  upon  oratory. 

Her  third  topic  is  "elocucyon."  She  begins  this  as  if  she  were  going  to 
enumerate  and  discuss  the  schemes  and  tropes  of  oratorical  style;  but 
she  soon  deserts  this  line  of  procedure  and  speaks  instead  of  the  theory 
of  interpreting  fables  and  figures  so  as  to  perceive  the  essential  truth 
conveyed  in  them.  Thus  Style  becomes  for  her  the  art  of  interpreting 
poetic  fictions,  not  the  art  of  clothing  in  language  the  arguments  and 
persuasions  of  oratory. 

"Pronuncyacyon,"  her  next  topic,  is  interesting  as  perhaps  the  first 
theory  of  oral  reading  or  oral  interpretation  in  the  English  language. 
She  is  thinking  of  the  poet  reciting  his  poems,  not  of  the  orator  deliver- 
ing a  speech,  and  she  proceeds  accordingly. 

Her  final  topic  is  "memoratyf e."  The  theory  of  memory,  as  set  forth  in 
the  Rhetorica  ad  Herennium  and  usually  mentioned  and  discussed  in 


other  works  of  the  Ciceronian  rhetorical  tradition,  involved  the  notion 
that  the  speaker  could  remember  his  speech  by  associating  its  ideas  with 
a  system  of  images  of  his  own  choosing,  and  by  visualizing  those  images 
as  arranged  in  a  system  of  localities  or  places  familiar  to  himself.  Lady 
"Rethoryke"  explains  this  ancient  theory  by  suggesting  that  the  "ora- 
ture"  associate  the  tales  he  wants  to  remember  with  appropriate  images, 
and  envisage  those  images  as  arranged  within  his  leathern  wallet.  Her 
words  are: 

Yf  to  the  orature  many  a  sundry  tale 
One  after  other  treatably  be  tolde 
Than  sundry  ymages  in  his  closed  male 
Eche  for  a  mater  he  doth  than  well  holde 
Lyke  to  the  tale  he  doth  than  so  beholde 
And  inwarde  a  recapytulacyon 
Of  eche  ymage  the  moralyzacyon. .  .  ,17 

So  does  Lady  "Rethoryke"  combine  the  terms  of  Ciceronian  rhetoric 
with  the  requirements  of  a  poet's  profession,  as  Geoffrey  of  Vinsauf  had 
no  doubt  taught  her  to  do  by  the  Poetria  Nova,  and  as  the  Rhetorica  ad 
Herennium  had  in  turn  taught  Geoffrey  to  do,  when  he  decided  to 
analyze  the  problem  of  poetic  communication. 

In  his  pioneering  essay  on  sixteenth-century  English  rhetorics  prefixed 
to  his  edition  of  Leonard  Cox's  The  Arte  or  Crafte  of  Rhethoryke,  Fred- 
eric Ives  Carpenter  implies  that  Caxton's  translation  of  the  Mirrour  of 
the  World  is  perhaps  the  first  printed  account  of  Cicero's  five  terms  to 
appear  in  English.18  The  Mirrour  appeared  first  around  1481,  and  in  a 
second  edition  around  1490.  If  either  of  these  editions  had  contained  a 
discussion  of  rhetoric  in  Cicero's  five  terms,  Carpenter's  implication 
would  be  perfectly  justified.  But  the  discussion  of  rhetoric  in  the  two 
fifteenth-century  editions  of  the  Mirrour  amounts  only  to  fifteen  lines 
in  Oliver  H.  Prior's  reprint  of  those  works/9  and  those  lines  are  devoted 
to  general  comments  on  the  relation  between  rhetoric  and  the  moral 
and  political  sciences.  It  is  in  the  third  edition  of  the  Mirrour  that  the 
account  of  rhetoric  is  expanded  to  include  brief  passages  on  "inuen- 
cion,"  "disposicion,"  and  "eloquens,"  followed  by  some  few  comments 
on  Memory  and  Delivery.  These  are  the  passages  noticed  by  Carpenter; 
but  they  appeared  first  in  print  around  1527,  and  by  that  time  Hawes' 
Pastime  had  been  issued  in  its  second  edition.  Caxton's  Mirrour  must 
be  relegated  to  second  place  in  numbering  the  appearances  of  Cicero- 
nian rhetoric  in  English  versions. 

In  third  place  belongs  Leonard  Cox's  The  Arte  or  Crafte  of  Rhe- 
thoryke,  although  in  a  sense  it  is  first,  for  it  is  the  earliest  rhetorical 
schoolbook  published  in  English,  and  it  is  the  earliest  systematic 
attempt  to  acquaint  English  readers  with  the  original  rhetorical  con- 


tent  of  the  Ciceronian  concept  of  Invention.  Cox's  Rhethoryke  ap- 
peared in  its  first  edition  in  London  around  1529,  and  in  its  second 
edition  at  the  same  place  in  1532. 

At  that  time.  Cox  was  a  schoolmaster  at  Reading.  As  he  himself 
informs  us,  he  had  been  thinking  long  and  hard  on  a  way  to  occupy 
himself  in  the  service  of  his  patron,  the  Abbot  Hugh  Faringdon.  He 
finally  had  decided,  he  says,  that  it  would  be  best  for  young  students  if 
he  wrote  "some  proper  worke  of  the  ryght  pleasaunt  and  parsuadyble 
arte  of  Rhetoryke."  20  He  envisaged  rhetoric,  he  goes  on,  as  "very  nec- 
essary to  all  suche  as  wyll  eyther  be  aduocates  and  proctoures  in  the 
lawe,  or  els  apte  to  be  sente  in  theyr  prynces  Ambassades  or  to  be  techars 
of  goddes  worde  in  suche  maner  as  maye  be  moste  sensible  and  accepte 
to  their  audience:  And  finally  to  all  them  that  haue  any  thynge  to 
prepose  or  to  speke  afore  any  company e,  what  someuer  they  be."  ~l  He 
believed,  he  adds,  that  there  was  "no  scyence  that  is  les  taught."  22 
Then  he  proceeds  to  remark  upon  the  faults  in  a  society  unschooled  in 

In  brief,  Cox  finds  three  such  faults.  First  is  rude  utterance,  which, 
when  prevalent  in  legal  speaking,  impairs  the  client's  cause.  Second  is 
inept  disposition  in  sermons;  this  has  the  effect  of  confounding  the 
hearer's  memory.  Great  tediousness  in  discourse  is  third.  Cox  implies 
that  this  is  very  common,  and  that  it  arises  from  the  speaker's  lack  of 
invention,  order,  and  proper  style.  He  adds  that  it  ends  in  driving 
hearers  away  or  putting  them  to  sleep. 

The  remedy  for  these  shortcomings,  Cox  implies,  can  be  provided  by 
proper  instruction  in  rhetoric.  His  treatise,  which,  as  he  declares,  is 
"partely  traunslatyd  out  of  a  werke  of  Rhethoryke  wrytten  in  the  lattyn 
tongue,  and  partely  compyled  of  myne  owne,"  23  provides  that  instruc- 
tion. Incidentally,  one  Latin  source  acknowledged  by  Cox  himself  in  his 
treatise  is  Cicero's  De  Inuentione.2*  But,  as  Carpenter  was  the  first 
to  point  out,  Cox's  real  source  is  the  Institutiones  Rhetoricae  of 

Melanchthon's  Institutiones  Rhetoricae  partitions  rhetoric  under  the 
topics  of  Invention,  Judgment,  Disposition,  and  Style.26  Now  the  second 
of  these  terms  seems  out  of  place  in  a  treatise  on  Ciceronian  rhetoric  as 
I  have  been  describing  it.  Ii^  actual  fact,  however,  the  term  is  not  so 
much  out  of  place  as  unnecessary.  It  appears  to  have  come  to  Melanch- 
thon  from  dialectical  theory.  In  dialectical  theory,  as  standardized  by 
Cicero's  Topics  from  Aristotle's  similar  work,  there  are  two  main  topics, 
Invention  and  Judgment,27  roughly  parallel  in  intent  to  the  first  two 
procedures  of  Ciceronian  rhetoric.  It  is  never  surprising  when  pieces 
of  the  machinery  of  dialectical  invention  and  judgment  turn  up  in 
treatises  on  rhetoric  by  disciples  of  Cicero.  In  fact,  we  shall  observe  later 


that  pieces  of  the  machinery  of  dialectical  invention  appear  in  Thomas 
Wilson's  Arte  of  Rhetorique.  Melanchthon's  use  of  the  word  Judgment 
as  a  main  process  in  rhetoric  seems  to  be  merely  an  illustration  that  a 
piece  of  the  machinery  of  dialectical  disposition  has  turned  up  where 
it  does  not  belong  if  the  concept  of  arrangement  is  meanwhile  being 

Cox  defines  rhetoric  as  having  the  four  procedures  enumerated  by 
Melanchthon.28  He  limits  himself  to  Invention,  however,  commenting 
both  at  the  beginning  and  end  of  his  work  that  Invention  is  the  hard- 
est of  the  four  to  master.29  He  takes  the  trouble  to  point  out,  moreover, 
that  in  thus  limiting  himself  he  has  "folowed  the  facion  of  Tully  who 
made  a  seuerall  werke  of  inuencion."  30  Actually,  of  course,  he  treats 
Invention  by  speaking  of  it  as  in  part  the  process  of  finding  material 
for  the  divisions  of  the  oration,  with  the  result  that  his  treatise,  like 
Cicero's,  covers  Arrangement  as  well  as  Invention,  despite  its  seeming 
limitation  to  the  latter  topic. 

Cox  mentions  in  a  letter  dated  May  23,  1540,  that  he  is  planning  a 
work  on  rhetoric  to  be  called  the  Erotemata  Rhetorical1  Possibly  that 
would  have  been  more  complete  than  his  Rhethoryke;  possibly  also  it 
would  have  been  a  further  translation  from  Melanchthon,  since  Cox's 
projected  title  suggests  his  desire  to  identify  his  work  with  the  latter, 
who  had  entitled  one  of  his  works  the  Erotemata  Dialeatices.  But  Cox's 
second  work  on  rhetoric  appears  never  to  have  been  published. 

Next  after  Cox's  Rhethoryke  in  the  sequence  of  English  versions  of 
Ciceronian  theory  is  Thomas  Wilson's  The  Arte  of  Rhetorique,  the 
greatest  work  in  this  tradition  by  an  Englishman.  Wilson  produces  a 
systematic,  learned,  and  lively  account  of  each  of  the  five  procedures  of 
Cicero's  theory  of  oratory.  To  Invention  he  devotes  68  per  cent  of  his 
total  space;  to  Arrangement,  a  little  less  than  2  per  cent;  to  Style,  slightly 
more  than  21  per  cent;  to  Memory,  about  4  per  cent;  and  to  Delivery, 
about  2  per  cent.  These  proportions  are  not  greatly  different  from  those 
in  the  Rhetorica  ad  Herennium,  which  gives  43  per  cent  of  its  space  to 
inventio,  2  per  cent  to  dispositio,  45  per  cent  to  elocutio,  6  per  cent  to 
memoria,  and  4  per  cent  to  pronuntiatio. 

In  his  study  of  the  sources  of  Wilson's  Rhetorique,  Russell  H.  Wagner 
states  that  the  Rhetorica  ad  Herennium,  doubtless  considered  by  Wilson 
to  be  Cicero's,  was  one  of  Wilson's  chief  authorities,  and  that  Wilson 
also  went  to  Erasmus  "for  leading  ideals,  for  detailed  matter,  and  for 
examples  and  critical  dicta";  Wagner  indicates,  moreover,  that  Wilson 
draws  to  some  extent  upon  Quintilian's  Institutio  Oratoria,  upon 
Cicero's  De  Inventione,  De  Oratore,  De  Partitions  Oratoria,  and  Brutus, 
and  possibly  also  upon  Cox's  Rhethoryke.32  To  these  sources  I  would 
want  to  add  Kidbard  Sherry's  A  Treatise  of  Schemes  and  Tropes,  which 


I  shall  discuss  later  as  the  first  treatise  in  English  on  the  actual  terms 
of  what  is  here  being  called  stylistic  rhetoric.  Wilson  relies  upon  Sherry 
for  English  phraseology  or  for  illustrations  in  his  discussion  of  the  three 
kinds  of  style,  in  his  definition  of  figure,  of  scheme,  of  gradatio,  and  in 
his  clarification  of  such  stylistic  concepts  as  aptness,  metaphor,  me- 
tonymy, transumption,  periphrasis,  epenthesis,  syncope,  proparalepsis, 
apocope,  extenuatio,  and  dissolutum.33 

"The  finding  out  of  apt  matter,  called  otherwise  Inuention,  is  a  search- 
ing out  of  things  true,  or  things  likely,  the  which  may  reasonablie  set 
forth  a  matter,  and  make  it  appeare  probable."  34  With  these  words 
Wilson  opens  his  discussion  of  the  first  part  of  Ciceronian  rhetoric.  He 
adds  at  once,  "The  places  of  Logique,  giue  good  occasion  to  finde  out 
plentiful!  matter."  These  places,  as  set  forth  in  Wilson's  Rule  of  Reason, 
the  first  logic  in  English,  are  sixteen  in  number.  They  constitute  in  the 
aggregate  a  machinery  for  the  analysis  of  dialectical  questions,  even  as 
the  nine  positions  of  argument,  to  which  reference  was  made  in  the 
discussion  of  Alcuin's  De  Rhetorica,  constitute  a  machinery  of  analysis 
for  rhetorical  questions.  Now  Wilson  does  not  expect  the  reader  of  his 
Rhetorique  to  make  use  of  all  sixteen  of  the  places  of  logic  in  conduct- 
ing a  rhetorical  analysis  of  a  subject.  He  indicates  instead  that  six  of 
them  are  particularly  helpful  to  the  orator,\and  he  enumerates  those 
six.35  In  addition,  he  sets  forth  the  nine  positions  associated  traditionally 
with  rhetoric,  and  discusses  them.36  Thus  his  discussion  of  Invention  in 
rhetoric  overlaps  his  discussion  of  Invention  in  dialectic— an  untidiness 
that  Ramus  was  at  that  very  moment  condemning  as  it  had  appeared  in 
continental  rhetorics  earlier  in  the  sixteenth  century. 

Wilson  also  permits  his  discussion  of  Arrangement  to  overlap  Inven- 
tion. Under  Invention,  as  Cicero  had  sanctioned,  Wilson  discusses  the 
standard  parts  of  the  classical  oration,  and  the  materials  appropriate  to 
each.37  Thus  when  he  comes  to  Arrangement,  where  the  parts  of  the 
oration  might  logically  be  discussed,  he  sees  that  he  has  already  said 
most  of  what  is  needed  for  this  topic.  He  contents  himself  with  a  sum- 
mary of  what  he  had  discussed  as  he  spoke  of  the  parts  of  the  oration, 
and  with  a  bit  of  advice  on  the  necessity  for  constant  discretion  in 
arranging  materials  for  audiences.38 

This  brief  discussion  of  Wilson's  Rhetorique  will  have  to  suffice  at 
this  time.  It  does  scant  justice  to  a  work  of  ingenuity,  good  sense,  and 
learning.  It  also  does  not  even  suggest  how  far  Wilson  went  in  natural- 
izing Ciceronian  theory,  and  in  giving  it  an  English  habitation  and  a 
name.  It  does  not  indicate  how  seriously  WiJ^o^lpoked  at  the  English 
bar  and  pulpit  of  his  tim^,  ^ixd  how  vigorously  "Be  strdye  ,to  make 
Ciceronian  rhetoric  applicable  to  their  problems.  Nor  does  it  comment 
upon  J/Vilson's  analysis  of  the  ancient  memory  system  ^  devised  with 


special  reference  to  oratory  and  explained  in  essential  terms  in  the 
Rhetorica  ad  Herennium.  Wilson  gives  this  oddity  o£  Roman  times  a 
noteworthy  treatment  and  thus  anglicizes  it  more  completely  than 
Hawes  had  done  in  the  Pastime  of  Pleasure.  Wilson  also  gives  Style  a 
noteworthy  treatment  as  the  third  part  of  rhetoric.  His  famous  protest 
against  the  use  of  dark  words  and  "ynkehorne  termes"  39  occurs  in  this 
part  of  his  treatise.  Style  he  defines  attractively  as  follows:  "Elocution 
getteth  words  to  set  forth  inuention,  and  with  such  beautie  commendeth 
the  matter,  that  reason  semeth  to  be  clad  in  Purple,  walking  afore  both 
bare  and  naked/' 40  The  true  heads  of  his  subsequent  discussion  are 
"Plainnesse,"  "Aptnesse,"  "Composition,"  "Exornation"; 41  and  his  anal- 
ysis of  each  is  much  more  than  a  perfunctory  attempt  to  get  Latin  ideas 
into  English.  These  and  many  other  special  points  of  distinction  make 
Wilson's  Rhetorique  one  of  the  great  books  in  its  field,  and  are  reasons 
why  I  regret  the  brevity  of  this  review  of  it. 

Beginning  in  1553,  when  it  was  first  published  in  London,  Wilson's 
Rhetorique  enjoyed  great  popularity  for  an  entire  generation.  It 
appeared  in  a  second  edition  in  1560,  in  a  third  in  1562,  in  a  fourth 
in  1563,  and  in  a  fifth  in  1567.  Then  for  a  while  there  seems  to  have 
been  a  slackening  market  for  it.  But  after  a  lapse  of  thirteen  years, 
successive  reprintings  again  occurred  in  1580,  1584,  and  1585. 42  By  that 
time,  the  first  English  translation  of  the  main  terms  of  Ramistic  rhetoric 
had  just  appeared,  and  Ramus'  famous  Dialecticae  Libri  Duo  had  been 
available  in  an  English  translation  for  eleven  years.  Thus  the  absence 
of  interest  in  Thomas  Wilson's  Rhetorique  after  1585  may  be  explained 
by  the  rise  of  interest  in  Ramus9  reformed  version  of  Ciceronian  rhetori- 
cal and  dialectical  theory. 

Thirty-six  years  after  Wilson's  Rhetorique  had  had  what  appears  to 
be  its  last  sixteenth-century  edition,  the  tradition  which  it  had  so  well 
represented  was  again  revived.  Its  revival  occurred  in  textbooks  writ- 
ten in  Latin  for  students  in  the  public  schools.  Thus  the  circulation  of 
the  theory  of  Ciceronian  rhetoric  was  confined  in  the  early  seventeenth 
century  to  the  younger  segment  of  the  population  of  England,  and  to 
the  atmosphere  of  the  classroom  and  the  study  hall.  Wilson  had  had 
more  ambitious  plans  for  his  work,  as  anyone  who  reads  it  will  notice. 

The  first  seventeenth-century  textbook  devoted  to  the  revival  of 
Ciceronian  rhetoric  was  written  by  Thomas  Vicars  and  published  at 
London  in  1621  under  a  Greek  and  Latin  title,  the  xsipaycoyta  Manv- 
dvctio  ad  Artem  Rhetoricam,  that  is,  Guide  to  the  Art  of  Rhetoric.  In 
its  first  edition  the  Guide  contained  an  enumeration  and  discussion  of 
the  five  main  procedures  of  Ciceronian  rhetoric.  A  later  edition  dated 
1628  at  London  adds  a  second  book  in  which  selected  Ciceronian  ora- 
tions are  analyzed  according  to  the  terms  of  the  five  procedures  as  set 


forth  in  Book  I.  The  difference  between  the  two  parts  of  this  1628  work 
is  indicated  as  that  between  the  genesis  of  the  oration  and  its  analysis. 
The  difference  between  rhetoric  and  logic  is  stated  on  the  title  page  in 
a  conceit  based  upon  Zeno's  ancient  epigram:  "Rhetorica  est  palmac 
similis,  Dialectica  pugno;  Haec  pugnat,  palmam  sed  tamen  ilia  rcfert/*  *3 

Two  other  Latin  rhetorical  handbooks  appeared  soon  after  that  of 
Vicars.  One  was  Thomas  Farnaby's  Index  Rhetoricus,  first  published  at 
London  in  1625,  and  reprinted  many  times  in  the  seventeenth  century.  It 
limits  itself  on  its  title  page  to  the  schools  and  to  the  instructing  of  those 
of  the  tenderer  ages;  its  doctrine  is  set  forth  in  terms  of  four  of  Cicero's 
five  procedures,  Memory  being  omitted  altogether.  Similar  to  it  is 
William  Pemble's  Enchiridion  Omtorium,  that  is,  Oratorical  Manual, 
published  at  Oxford  in  1633,—except  that  Pemble  limits  himself  to 
Invention  and  Arrangement,  after  recognizing  rhetoric  to  consist  of 
these  two  parts  and  Style  and  Delivery  as  well.44 

Thus  the  Ciceronian  rhetorical  tradition  was  in  being  at  the  time  of 
Harvard's  first  Commencement,  even  if  it  had  tended  after  the  great 
work  of  Thomas  Wilson  to  be  eclipsed  by  Ramistic  rhetoric  and  to  be 
revived  later  in  the  form  of  Latin  manuals  for  schoolboys.  Let  us  now 
examine  the  second  pattern  of  English  rhetoric,  called  here  the  stylistic, 
to  see  what  had  happened  to  it  during  the  period  between  the  seventh 
and  the  seventeenth  century. 


Stylistic  rhetoric  as  a  recognizable  and  distinctive  tradition  in  rhetor- 
ical theory  in  England  has  two  main  characteristics.  First  of  all,  it  is 
openly  committed  to  the  doctrine  of  Style  as  the  most  important  part 
of  the  five-part  scheme  just  discussed.  Secondly,  it  is  openly  mindful 
that  Invention,  Arrangement,  Memory,  and  Delivery,  or  combinations 
of  two  or  more  of  these  other  parts  of  rhetoric,  are  also  legitimate  topics 
in  the  full  rhetorical  discipline.  Readers  of  Cicero's  Orator  will  recall 
that  its  major  emphasis  is  upon  Style,  although  it  gives  some  degree  of 
recognition  to  the  other  parts  of  rhetoric.45  Thus  the  Orator  is  impor- 
tant as  a  source  book  in  the  history  of  stylistic  rhetoric,  although  the 
fourth  book  of  the  Rhetorica  ad  Herennium,  the  third  book  of  Cicero's 
De  Oratore,  and  the  eighth  and  ninth  books  of  Quintilian's  Institutio 
Oratoria  all  contain  a  full  treatment  of  Style  as  the  verbal  aspect  of  the 
speaker's  total  problem,  and  all  are  sources  of  this  or  that  work  in  the 
post-classical  development  of  the  rhetoric  I  am  now  describing. 

The  first  treatise  by  an  Englishman  in  the  field  of  stylistic  rhetoric  is 
tie  Venerable  Bede's  Liber  de  Schematibw  et  Tropis^  Bede  is  pre- 
sumed to  have  written  this  work  in  701  or  702.47  His  immediate  sources 


are  chapters  36  and  37  of  Book  I  of  Isidore's  Etymologiaef8  where  Isi- 
dore is  discussing  grammar  on  his  way  to  a  treatment  of  rhetoric  and 
dialectic  in  Book  II.49  The  fact  that  Bede's  treatise  on  the  schemes  and 
tropes  is  taken  from  Isidore's  De  Grammatica  rather  than  from  his  De 
Rhetorica  might  lead  one  to  suppose  that  Bede  is  not  to  be  classed 
among  rhetoricians  but  among  grammarians.  Indeed,  Halm  admits 
Bede's  Liber  with  great  reluctance  to  a  place  in  his  collection  of  minor 
Latin  rhetorics,  saying  that  he  would  willingly  have  left  it  out  if  his 
plan  did  not  seem  to  require  him  to  accept  all  the  items  previously 
allowed  within  that  particular  tradition.50  In  other  words.  Halm  seems 
embarrassed  by  the  nonrhetorical  content  of  the  Liber  and  by  the 
uncritical  acceptance  of  that  work  as  a  rhetoric  by  his  predecessors, 
Pithou  and  Capperonnier,  both  of  whom  had  included  it  in  their  Antiqui 
Rhetores  Latini.  But  students  of  the  history  of  rhetoric  have  to  accustom 
themselves  not  to  be  embarrassed  when  a  given  rhetoric  contains 
material  that  appears  elsewhere  in  grammars  or  dialectics.  They  have  to 
learn  to  argue  that,  if  Bede's  definitions  of  the  schemes  and  tropes 
come  from  a  treatise  on  grammar  by  Isidore,  and  if  Isidore  in  turn  got 
those  definitions  in  part  from  the  grammars  of  Donatus  and  Charisius, 
one  can  nevertheless  find  the  same  materials  in  such  still  older  works 
as  the  Rhetorica  ad  Herennium  and  the  Institutio  Oratoria.  Thus  Bede's 
Liber  need  not  occasion  apologies  when  we  accept  it  among  stylistic 

The  method  followed  by  Bede  in  treating  the  schemes  and  tropes  is 
simple:  he  enumerates  seventeen  schemes;  he  defines  each  and  illus- 
trates it  from  the  Bible,  except  in  one  case,  where  his  example  is  from 
the  Christian  poet  Sedulius  51;  then  he  enumerates  thirteen  tropes, 
defining  each  later  and  illustrating  again  from  the  Bible.  His  guiding 
conception  of  these  two  big  divisions  of  Style  is  clearly  indicated  in  his 
opening  words: 

On  many  occasions  in  writings  it  is  customary  for  the  sake  of  elegance  that 
the  order  of  words  as  they  are  formulated  should  be  contrived  in  some  other 
way  than  that  adhered  to  by  the  people  in  their  speech.  These  contrivances 
the  Greek  grammarians  call  schemes,  whereas  we  may  rightly  term  them 
attire  or  form  or  figure,  because  through  them  as  a  distinct  method  speech 
may  be  dressed  up  and  adorned.  On  other  occasions,  it  is  customary  for  a 
locution  called  trope  to  be  devised.  This  is  done  by  changing  a  word  from  its 
proper  signification  to  an  unaccustomed  but  similar  case  on  account  of  ne- 
cessity or  adornment.  And  indeed  the  Greeks  pride  themselves  upon  having 
been  the  discoverers  of  such  schemes  and  tropes.52 

Bede  does  not  deal  with  any  other  topics  of  the  complete  Ciceronian 
doctrine  of  style,  nor  does  he  specifically  recognize  in  his  Liber  that 
Style  is  only  one  of  the  five  parts  of  rhetoric.  But  he  surely  was  well 


acquainted  with  the  five-part  division  of  Ciceronian  rhetorical  theory. 
He  probably  did  not  have  any  of  Cicero's  rhetorical  writings  in  his  own 
library,  but  he  did  of  course  have  Isidore's  Etijinologiae9*A  and  Isidore 
lists  the  five  conventional  parts  of  rhetorical  theory  in  his  own  treatise 
on  rhetoric  a  few  pages  beyond  his  disquisition  on  the  schemes  and 

Stylistic  rhetoric  appears  to  have  been  the  most  popular  form  of  rhe- 
torical theory  in  England  between  the  eighth  and  the  fifteenth  century. 
Space  does  not  permit  us  to  examine  here  the  various  Latin  writings 
on  this  subject  by  Englishmen.  A  few  representative  authors  should, 
however,  be  mentioned.  One  of  the  foremost  is  John  of  Salisbury,  whose 
Metalogicon,  as  Atkins  has  observed,  deals  with  rhetoric  less  as  a  matter 
of  Invention  and  Arrangement  than  of  Style.54  Another  is  Geoffrey  of 
Vinsauf.  His  Poetria  Nova,  as  I  indicated  earlier,  recognizes  the  five 
procedures  of  Ciceronian  rhetoric  and  thus  belongs  to  my  first  category; 
but  his  Summa  de  Coloribus  Rhetoricis  is  plainly  in  the  stylistic  tradi- 
tion.55 Still  another  medieval  Latin  work  in  this  tradition  by  an  English- 
man is  John  of  Garland's  Exempla  Honestae  Vitae,  which  Atkins 
describes  as  "a  text-book  treating  of  the  use  of  the  rhetorical  figures/' 5fl 
These  are  all  works  in  a  class  with  Bede's  Liber,  and  they  were  pro- 
duced at  a  time  when  the  full  Ciceronian  theory  of  rhetoric  was  being 
little  used,  except  by  Geoffrey  of  Vinsauf  as  the  framework  for  a  treatise 
on  poetry. 

The  first  printed  English  account  of  the  stylistic  aspect  of  rhetoric 
occurred  around  1481  with  the  publication  at  Caxton's  press  in  West- 
minster of  a  learned  poetic  allegory,  The  Court  of  Sapience,*7  to  which 
I  have  already  made  brief  reference  as  awork  which  influenced  Hawes 
and  was  attributed  by  Hawes  to  John  Lydgate.  Modern  scholarship 
doubts  that  Lydgate  wrote  the  Court,  but  not  that  Hawes  imitated  it. 
As  I  said  of  it  earlier,  however,  its  treatment  of  rhetoric  is  briefer  than 
that  in  Hawes'  work,  and  more  in  the  stylistic  tradition. 

The  Court  recounts  the  poet's  dream  of  a  journey  under  the  guidance 
of  Sapience,  The  final  stages  of  the  journey  take  the  poet  to  the  castle  of 
Sapience,  where  he  visits  the  seven  ladies,  that  is,  the  seven  liberal  arts. 
Six  seven-line  stanzas  are  devoted  to  "Dame  Rethoryke,  Modyr  of  Elo- 
quence/' or  as  a  Latin  headnote  has  it,  to  a  "breuis  tractatus  de  Rethor- 
ica."  5S  This  brief  tractate  does  not  consist  in  an  enumeration  of  the 
schemes  and  tropes.  But  it  does  characterize  Dame  Rhetoric  as  if  her 
chief  concern  were  the  stylistic  aspects  of  composition,  Thus  the  func- 
tion of  rhetoric  is  described  as  that  of  teaching  what  vices  in  style  to 
avoid,  what  gay  colors  are  included  in  the  rhetorician's  knowledge  of 
his  craft,  what  differences  there  are  among  these  colors,  what  properties 
they  have,  how  each  thing  declared  may  be  painted,  what  distinctions 


exist  between  "coma,  colon,  periodus,"  59  and  what  works  may  be  con- 
sulted for  information  about  the  colors.  Cicero  is  called  "The  chosyn 
spowse  vnto  thys  lady  fre";  in  his  works  is  found  "Thys  gyltyd  craft  of 
glory";  other  authors  who  would  teach  of  the  colors  are  "Galfryde"  and 
"Januense,"  that  is,  Geoffrey  of  Vinsauf  and  Balbus  de  Janua,  the  latter 
of  whom  is  mentioned  especially  for  the  fourth  book  of  his  Catholicon.60 
It  is  specifically  indicated  that  the  springs  of  eloquence  are  in  sound 
knowledge  of  the  Code,  the  three  Digests,  the  books  of  law  and  of 
natural  philosophy—a  recognition,  of  course,  of  the  underlying  impor- 
tance of  Invention  in  the  theory  of  discourse.  The  closing  stanza  gives 
Dame  Rhetoric  jurisdiction  over  "prose  and  metyr,"  and  lists  those  who 
have  excelled  in  each  of  these  forms. 

It  was  almost  seventy  years  after  the  first  edition  of  the  Court,  when 
the  sixteenth  century  had  reached  its  midpoint,  that  the  schemes  and 
tropes  of  the  stylistic  tradition  appeared  jor  the  first  time  in  the  English 
language.  The  work  which  features  them  thus  is  Richard  Sherry's  A 
Treatise  of  Schemes  and  Tropes,  published  at  London  in  1550.^5sTEave 
already  indicated,  this  work  influenced  the  phraseology  and  illustrations 
of  Thomas  Wilson's  treatment  of  Style  in  his  famous  Rhetorique  pub- 
lished three  years  later,  as  one  pioneering  work  is  likely  to  influence 
another  if  the  later  author  has  access  to  the  earlier. 

Sherry  realized  that  his  work  was  something  new  in  the  English 
literary  tradition— that  it  had  no  vernacular  prototype.  In  fact,  his  dedi- 
catory epistle  "To  the  ryght  worshypful  Master  Thomas  Brooke  Es- 
quire" anticipates  a  public  reaction  made  up  of  initial  bewilderment: 

I  doubt  not  but  that  the  title  of  this  treatise  all  straunge  vnto  our  Englyshe 
eares,  wil  cause  some  men  at  the  fyrst  syghte  to  maruayle  what  the  matter  of 
it  should  meaner  yea,  and  peraduenture  if  they  be  rashe  of  iudgement,  to  cal 
it  some  newe  fangle,  and  so  casting  it  hastily  from  them,  wil  not  once  vouch 
safe  to  reade  it:  and  if  they  do,  yet  perceiuynge  nothing  to  be  therin  that 
pleaseth  their  phansy,  wyl  count  it  but  a  tryfle,  and  a  tale  of  Robynhoode.61 

"These  words,  Scheme  and  Trope"  he  goes  on,  "are  not  vsed  in  our  Eng- 
lishe  tongue,  neither  bene  they  Englyshe  wordes."  62  I  got  acquainted 
with  them,  he  says  later,  when  I  read  them  to  others  in  Latin  ( Sherry 
was  a  schoolmaster  in  Magdalene  College  school  in  Oxford  from  1534 
to  1540);  and,  he  declares,  since  they  helped  me  very  much  in  the 
exposition  of  good  authors,  "I  was  so  muche  the  more  ready  to  make 
them  speak  English."  63  He  wants  them  to  speak  English,  moreover, 
because  the  English  language  is  being  enriched,  English  literature  is 
becoming  famous,  and  English  learning  needs  these  terms.  It  needs 
them  especially  because  "no  lerned  nacion  hath  there  bene  but  y 
learned  in  it  haue  written  of  schemes  &  fygures,  which  thei  wold  not 
haue  don,  except  thei  had  perceyued  the  valewe."  64 


On  three  occasions  Slierry  makes  it  plain  that  he  is  dealing  with  Style, 
not  as  the  only  part  of  rhetoric,  but  as  the  third  part  in  the  traditional 
Ciceronian  pattern.  The  first  occasion  arises  when  he  reminds  serious 
readers  that  it  is  their  obligation  to  know  the  schemes  and  tropes: 

For  thys  darre  I  saye,  no  eloquente  wryter  roaye  be  perceiued  as  he  shuldc 
be,  wythoute  the  knowledge  of  them:  for  asmuche  as  al  togethers  they  be- 
longe  to  Eloquucion,  whyche  is  the  thyrde  and  pryncipall  parte  of  rhctori- 

The  second  occasion  arises  when  he  has  finished  his  dedicatory  letter 
and  is  about  to  begin  his  treatise.  The  following  headnote  at  this  point 
carries  us  into  the  text: 

Schemes  and  Tropes.  A  briefe  note  of  eloqucio,  the  third  parte  of  Rhetoricke, 
wherunto  all  Figures  and  Tropes  be  referied.66 

On  the  third  occasion,  Sherry  mentions  explicitly  two  of  the  other  pro- 
cedures of  Ciceronian  rhetoric  that  lie  adjacent  to  style.  Tully  and 
Quintilian,  he  says  at  this  point,  thought  that  Invention  and  Arrange- 
ment were  marks  of  prudence  and  wit  in  any  kind  of  composition,  but 
that  Style  was  the  peculiar  mark  of  the  orator  as  man  of  eloquence.07 
As  for  the  theory  behind  the  schemes  and  tropes.  Sherry  takes  the 
same  position  that  Bede  had  taken:  that  there  is  a  normal,  plain,  and 
ordinary  way  of  speaking,  used  among  the  populace,  and  an  unusual, 
uncommon,  extraordinary  way,  used  among  the  elegant  and  educated. 
This  latter  way  is  described  by  the  schemes  and  the  tropes,  taken  collec- 
tively. These  contrivances  amount  to  all  possible  extraordinary  patterns 
of  language  which  men  can  devise  as  a  system  of  substitutes  for  pedes- 
trian, everyday  patterns.  Here  are  Sherry's  key  definitions: 

Scheme  is  a  Greke  worde,  and  signifyeth  properlye  the  manor  of  gesture 
that  daunsers  vse  to  make,  when  they  haue  won  the  best  game,  but  by  trans- 
lacion  is  taken  for  the  fourme,  fashion,  and  shape  of  anye  thynge  expressed  in 
wryrynge  or  payntinge;  and  is  taken  here  now  of  vs  for  the  fashion  of  a  word, 
sayynge,  or  sentence,  otherwyse  wrytten  or  spoken  then  after  the  vulgar  and 
comen  vsage, . .  ,68 

Fygtire,  of  Scheme  y  fyrst  part,  is  a  behaueoure,  maner,  or  fashion,  cythcr 
of  sentence,  oracion,  or  wordes  after  some  new  wyse,  other  then  men  do 
commenlye  vse  to  wryte  or  speake  . . .  ,69 

Emonge  authors  manye  tymes  vnder  the  name  of  figures,  Tropes  also  be 
comprehended:  Neuerthelesse  ther  is  a  notable  difference  betwixt  them*  In 
figure  is  no  alteracion  in  the  wordes  from  their  proper  significacions,  but  only 
is  the  oracion  and  sentence  made  by  them  more  plesaunt,  sharpe  and  vehe- 
ment, after  y  affeccion  of  him  that  speketih.  or  writeth:  to  y  which  vse  although 
tropes  also  do  serue,  yet  properlye  be  they  so  called,  because  in  them  for 
necessitye  or  garnyshynge,  there  is  a  mouynge  and  chaungynge  of  a  wordc 
and  sentence,  from  theyr  owne  significacion  into  another,  whych  may  agre 
wyth  it  by  a  similitude.70 


A  change  from  the  common  pattern— this,  then,  is  the  concept  behind 
the  schemes  and  the  tropes.  Thus  if  one  says,  "I  was  berattled/'  instead 
of  "I  was  rattled,"  he  has  changed  the  common  pattern  of  a  word  with- 
out changing  its  literal  meaning,  and  the  scheme  thus  created  is  called 
Prosthesis  or  Appositio.71  The  purpose  of  this  scheme  is  to  call  strong 
attention  to  one's  thought  (or  one's  self)  by  adding  some  unusual  ele- 
ment to  a  familiar  pattern.  Now  if  one  says,  "I  have  but  lately  tasted 
the  Hebrew  tongue,"  he  has  taken  the  word  taste  from  its  routine  orbit 
and  transferred  it  to  a  different  but  analogous  orbit,  with  the  result  that 
the  change  thus  produced,  which  constitutes  a  trope  called  Metaphora, 
also  calls  memorable  attention  to  one's  thought.72 

It  would  be  suggestive  to  speculate  upon  a  theory  of  communication 
which  emphasizes  that  true  excellence  is  achieved  only  by  a  departure 
from  the  natural  pattern  of  everyday  speech.  That  theory  would  appear 
to  be  congenial  to  a  society  in  which  the  holders  of  power  and  privilege 
are  hereditary  aristocrats,  who  do  not  have  to  use  speech  to  gain  any- 
thing for  themselves.  In  such  a  society,  the  commoners,  who  do  have  to 
use  speech  as  one  of  their  instruments  in  the  quest  for  privilege,  would 
consider  that  the  unusual  pattern  of  communication  might  impress  the 
aristocrat  and  distinguish  the  commoners  from  the  herd.  Perhaps  con- 
siderations like  these  explain  the  enormous  popularity  of  the  schemes 
and  tropes  as  an  element  in  education  in  the  sixteenth  century. 

Sherry's  treatment  of  the  schemes  and  tropes  is  orderly  and  thor- 
ough. I  shall  not  have  time,  however,  to  comment  further  upon  it  here. 
It  might  be  mentioned  as  I  leave  it  that  Sherry  is  quite  explicit  about 
the  sources  upon  which  his  work  is  based.  He  speaks  in  his  dedicatory 
letter  of  having  prepared  himself  for  his  present  task  by  reading  sundry 
treatises,  some  written  long  ago,  and  some  in  his  own  day.73  He  declares 
that  these  he  did  not  translate  but  drew  upon.74  From  the  authors 
explicitly  mentioned  by  him  then  and  later,  it  would  appear  that  he 
places  primary  reliance  upon  such  modern  works  as  Rudolphus  Agri- 
cola's  De  Inuentione  Dialectica,  Petrus  Mosellanus'  Tabulae  de  Schema- 
tibus  et  Tropis,  Thomas  Linacre's  Rudimentes  Grammatices,  and  Eras- 
mus' De  Duplid  Copia  Verborum  ac  Rerum;  whereas  for  the  ancients 
he  goes  to  Quintilian's  Institutio  Oratoria,  to  Cicero's  Orator,  De  Ora- 
tore?  and  De  Partitione  Oratoria,  and  to  Aristotle's  Topics  and  Rhetoric. 

Sherry  uses  at  one  point  in  his  Treatise  the  image  of  a  man  getting 
true  pleasure  from  a  goodly  garden  garnished  with  flowers  only  when 
he  knows  the  names  and  properties  of  what  he  sees  therein.75  This 
image  may  have  suggested  something  to  Ek^^  At  any  rate, 

Peacharn  published  ^at  London  in  1577  a^lvorTT^^  as 

Sh^ry's  entitle  fThe  ^Garden  of  EZcRj^^  of 

Grammerand  Rhetoric^. 'lliS'worlc !F2a6re"ScEeiisive  than  the  one  just 


discussed,  more  extensive,  too/ than  Sherry's  revised  edition  of  1555, 
published  at  London  as  A  Treatise  of  the  Figures  of  Grammar  and 
Rhetorike  76;  and  it  represents  English  stylistic  rhetoric  in  full  maturity. 

Now,  the  Garden  of  Eloquence  draws  heavily  upon  Sherry's  earlier 
work,  particularly  upon  the  first  edition.  Space  does  not  permit  me  to 
set  forth  passages  in  Peacham  that  have  a  counterpart  in  Sherry.  The 
reader  who  wishes  to  assure  himself  of  the  similarity  between  Sherry's 
edition  of  1550  and  Peacham's  work  might  compare  the  discussion  of 
Expolition  in  the  one  treatise  with  that  in  the  other.77  As  for  the  simi- 
larity between  Sherry's  revised  edition  and  Peacharn's  work,  the  reader 
might  compare  what  the  former  and  what  the  latter  say  about  Parti- 
tion.78 These  resemblances  indicate,  of  course,  that  Peacham  and  Sherry 
are  in  the  same  rhetorical  tradition,  and  must  be  considered  together. 
But  the  one  thing  that  brings  them  finally  together,  and  dissociates  them 
forever  from  the  Ramists,  who  were  then  coming  into  fashion,  is  that 
Sherry  and  Peacham  treat  the  schemes  and  tropes  as  in  part  the  con- 
"cera  of  grammar  and  in  part  the  concern  of  rhetoric,  whereas  the 
Ramists,  as  we  shall  see,  insisted  that  grammar  and  rhetoric  must  not 
be  allowed  to  overlap,  and  that  the  schemes  and  tropes  belonged  only 
to  rhetoric. 

Two  other  stylistic  rhetorics  in  the  tradition  of  Sherry  and  Peacham 
were  composed  in  the  last  decade  of  the  sixteenth  century.  Incidentally, 
a  second  edition  of  Peacham  appeared  in  1593,  and  may  be  taken  as 
evidence  of  the  continuing  interest  in  his  elaborate  work.  But  a  more 
popular  work  in  his  field  appeared  at  London  in  1592  with  the  publica- 
tion of  a  new  and  augmented  edition  of  Angel  Day's  The  English 
Secretorie.  This  enlarged  edition  of  a  work  which  had  first  come  out 
six  years  before  contained  a  treatise  on  the  tropes,  figures,  and  schemes. 
Day  is  no  Ramist;  he  allows  the  schemes  to  be  shared  by  grammar  as 
well  as  by  rhetoric.  But  for  those  who  wanted  the  tropes  and  figures 
without  the  special  context  and  treatment  required  by  the  Ramists, 
Day's  work  was  as  good  as  any  other,  and  it  continued  to  be  reprinted 
during  the  next  forty-five  years. 

The  last  stylistic  rhetoric  to  require  mention  here  is  John  Hoskins" 
DirectionsTfor  Speech  and  Style.  This  work  is  believed  to  have  been 
composed  in  the  year  1599;  portions  of  it  were  embedded  in  Ben  Jonson's 
Timber  (1641),  and  a  large  part  of  it  was  printed  without  acknowledg- 
ment in  Thomas  Blounfs  Academie  of  Eloquence  ( 1654 )  and  in  John 
Smith's  Mysterie  of  Rhetorique  UnvaiTd  (1657);  but  it  did  not  achieve 
an  edition  under  its  own  author's  name  until  1935,  when  the  late  Pro- 
fessor Hoyt  H.  Hudson  brought  it  out  in  company  with  an  excellent 
introduction  and  notes.79  Like  other  rhetoricians  in  the  stylistic  tradi- 
tion, Hoskins  emphasizes  the  tropes  and  figures;  but  he  does  not  do  so 


in  the  manner  of  the  Ramists,  for  they  would  not  permit  recognition  of 
Invention  and  Disposition  as  parts  of  rhetoric,  whereas  Hoskins  cheer- 
fully begins  with  a  nod  at  these  two  procedures.  Hoskins  might  have 
been  expected  to  be  a  Ramist,  too;  Talaeus,  Ramus'  close  collaborator, 
and  Sturm,  the  teacher  of  Ramus,  are  the  only  two  modern  authorities 
whom  he  names  in  the  list  of  authors  used  by  him  as  sources.80 

In  the  period  between  1599  and  1642,  four  successive  editions  of 
Angel  Day's  English  Secretorie  testify  to  the  continuing  interest  of 
Englishmen  in  stylistic  rhetoric.  But  the  tropes  and  figures,  as  a  main 
ingredient  of  that  rhetoric,  had  meanwhile  been  appropriated  by  the 
Ramists,  as  I  have  already  suggested,  and  as  I  shall  have  occasion  later 
to  discuss.  Thus  at  the  time  of  the  first  Commencement  at  Harvard, 
only  an  acute  observer,  aware  of  the  history  of  rhetoric  during  the  hun- 
dred years  just  past,  would  have  been  able  to  disentangle  the  old 
stylistic  rhetoric  from  the  newer  Ramistic  rhetoric  and  to  explain  the 
differences  between  them.  But  the  fact  is  that,  even  if  the  old  stylistic 
rhetoric  of  Bede,  Sherry,  and  Peacham  had  merged  with  Ramistic 
rhetoric  by  1642,  the  stylistic  tradition  itself  in  its  substantive  aspect 
was  at  that  date  still  very  much  alive,  thanks  to  the  special  help  it  had 
had  from  the  Ramists. 


The  formulary  pattern  of  English  rhetoric  before  1642  has  to  be  men- 
tioned by  any  historian  of  early  rhetorical  theory  in  England  who  is 
striving  to  tell  his  story  completely.  Yet  that  historian  also  has  to 
acknowledge  that  of  all  segments  of  the  English  theory  of  communica- 
tion, f  orjooilary  rltetorie-was1  the  least  popular,  so  far,  at  any  rate,  as  the 
sixteenth  and- early  seventeenth  century  are  concerned. 

In  essence,  for^rmlary,  rhetoric  in  the  period  now  under  consideration 
is  illustrated  by  those  works  which  consist  of  a  series  of  model  compo- 
sitions or  model  parts  of  compositions  for  guiding  students  in  the  prac- 
tice of  communication. 

Rhetorical  education  has  always  rested  upon  the  assumption  that 
practice  in  communication  is  necessary  for  the  development  of  pro- 
ficiency, and  that  practice  must  involve  experience  with  the  typical 
patterns  of  communication  in  civilized  life.  Sometimes  rhetorical  prac- 
tice is  regulated  in  the  classroom  by  the  study  of  models,  sometimes  by 
the  study  of  rhetorical  theory,  and  occasionally  by  the  whims  and 
vagaries  of  instructor  or  student.  This  third  method  of  regulation  is 
usually  permitted  only  in  education  as  a  private  venture  or  in  public 
education  at  the  higher  levels  of  instruction.  The  second  method  of 
regulation,  where  the  study  of  theory  accompanies  practice,  is  perhaps 


the  most  widely  used  of  all  methods  on  the  middle  and  upper  levels 
of  the  educational  process.  The  patterns  of  theory  which  I  am  explain- 
ing in  this  paper  are  all  relevant  to  this  second  method.  The  first 
method,  that  of  regulating  practice  by  the  study  of  models,  is  usually 
most  popular  on  the  lower  levels  of  instruction  or  in  the  elementary 
phases  of  the  mastery  of  the  act  of  communication.  Thus  formulary 
rhetorics,  which  implement  this  method,  ordinarily  envisage  the  school- 
boy as  their  reader,  and  ordinarily  involve  rhetorical  theory  only  so  far 
as  a  few  basic  terms  are  necessary  in  giving  directions  for  schoolboy 

Formulary  rhetoric  is  of  course  a  part  of  the  two  streams  of  rhetorical 
theory  just  discussed.  Thomas  Wilson's  Rhetorique?  for  example,  con- 
tains model  compositions  to  illustrate  the  theory  of  such  standard  com- 
munications as  the  deliberative  discourse,  the  letter  of  consolation,  and 
the  legal  argument.81  The  same  impulse  to  provide  models  in  connec- 
tion with  theoretical  terms  is  shown  by  Richard  Sherry,  who  attaches  to 
his  Treatise  of  Schemes  and  Tropes  a  "declamacion  of  a  briefe  theme, 
by  Erasmus  of  Roterodame."  S2 

Formulary  rhetoric  as  an  entity  by  itself  begins  to  be  a  vernacular 
development  in  England  in  the  second  quarter  of  the  sixteenth  century. 
At  first,  however,  it  is  a  thing  of  shreds  and  patches,  not  a  full-grown 
pattern.  Its  beginnings  are  found  in  several  popular  collections  of 
passages  from  the  classics  as  published  at  English  presses:  Nicholas 
Udall's  translation  of  excerpts  from  Terence,  called  Flovres  for  Latin® 
Spekynge  (London,  1533);  Richard  Taverners  translation  of  selections 
from  the  Apophthegmata  of  Erasmus,  called  The  Garden  of  Wysdoni 
(London,  1539);  the  same  Taverners  translations  from  the  Chiliades  of 
Erasmus,  called  Prouerbes  or  Adagies  (London,  1539).  These  collec- 
tions, however,  are  more  in  the  nature  of  commonplace  books  than  of 
formulary  rhetorics.  Their  interest  is  centered  in  the  thoughts  conveyed 
by  the  passages  they  contain,  not  in  the  rhetorical  forms  illustrated  by 
those  passages.  Moreover,  they  were  probably  often  used  as  reference 
books  by  preachers  and  writers  in  search  of  classical  utterances  on 
common  topics,  and  thus  they  would  be  more  of  a  guide  to  the  content 
than  to  the  method  of  a  given  discourse.  The  true  formulary  rhetoric 
differs  from  them  in  having  its  interest  centered  in  rhetorical  forms,  and 
in  having  its  selections  cover  a  variety  of  occasions  for  discourse. 

The  firstjuilj^j.eveloed  formular  rhetoric  to  appear  in  English,  and 

the  teFi^^  in  the  period  -here  under  dis- 

cussion/fs'TRfcIiard  RainolMs  ,  Potm^  This  work, 

as  "Professor  Johnson  has  shown,  is  mainly  an  EfrigBst  adaptation  of 
Reinhard  Lorich's  Latin  version  of  Aphthonius*  Progymnasmata.84 
Aphthonius  is  one  of  the  three  great  names  in  the  field  of  ancient  formu- 


lary  rhetoric,  the  others  being  Theon  and  Hermogenes,85  Theon  is 
supposed  to  have  lived  in  the  first  half  of  the  second  century  A.  D.;  Her- 
mogenes, in  the  second  half  of  the  same  century;  and  Aphthonius,  to- 
wards the  end  of  the  fourth  century.  Not  Aphthonius  alone,  but  all  of 
them,  composed  works  called  Progymnasmata  for  rhetorical  instruc- 

Rainolde,  like  Sherry,  sees  himself  as  a  pioneer  in  his  particular  field. 
But  it  is  Wilson  and  not  Sherry  to  whom  he  refers  as  he  speaks  in  his 
preface  "To  the  Reader"  of  himself  as  innovator.  He  begins  this  preface 
with  mention  of  Aphthonius  and  Hermogenes,  among  others.  He  then 
says  that  he  has  prepared  the  present  work  "because  as  yet  the  verie 
grounde  of  Rhetorike,  is  not  heretofore  intreated  of,  as  concernyng  these 
exercises,  though  in  fewe  yeres  past,  a  learned  woorke  of  Rhetorike  is 
compiled  and  made  in  the  Englishe  toungue,  of  one,  who  floweth  in  all 
excellencie  of  arte,  who  in  iudgement  is  profounde,  in  wisedome  and 
eloquence  moste  famous." 

Rainolde's  method  of  procedure  in  his  work  is  to  provide  orations 
upon  the  typical  patterns  of  discourse.  Before  he  does  this,  however,  he 
makes  a  few  introductory  comments.  His  distinction  between  logic  and 
rhetoric  follows  that  in  Thomas  Wilson's  The  Rule  of  Reason  and 
amounts,  as  Wilson's  had,  to  an  expansion  of  Zeno's  epigram  about 
logic  being  the  closed  fist  and  rhetoric  the  open  hand.87  Few,  he  ob- 
serves, possess  both  of  these  arts  to  perfection;  those  who  do  are  most 
noble  and  excellent.  He  names  the  famous  orators  of  Greece  and  Rome, 
and  after  some  comment  upon  them  he  returns  to  Demosthenes,  whom 
he  recalls  as  having  once  framed  an  oration  upon  a  fable.88  This  leads 
him  to  define  fables,  to  distinguish  three  types  of  them,  and  to  comment 
upon  their  use  by  orators  and  poets.89  He  mentions  Bishop  Morton  as 
vising  a  fable  of  Aesop  to  answer  his  jailer,  Buckingham;  also  Bishop 
Fisher  as  using  one  in  a  speech  in  Parliament.90  Then  he  indicates  that 
an  oration  may  be  made  upon  a  fable,  and  upon  the  following  other 
patterns:  a  Narration,  a  Chria,  a  Sentence,  a  Refutation,  a  Proof,  a 
Commonplace,  a  Praising,  a  Dispraising,  a  Comparison,  an  Ethopeia, 
a  Description,  a  Thesis,  and  a  Law.91  Making  orations  upon  these 
patterns,  he  goes  on,  is  called  "of  the  Grekes  Progimnasmata,  of  the 
Latines,  profitable  introduccions,  or  fore  exercises,  to  attain  greater  arte 

and  knowlege  in  Rhetorike ?>  92  "Therefore,"  he  adds,  "I  title  this 

booke,  to  bee  the  foundacio  of  Rhetorike,  the  exercises  being  Progim- 
nasmata"  9S 

The  exercises  which  follow  are  model  speeches  upon  each  of  the 
fourteen  patterns  previously  enumerated.  There  are  two  speeches  to 
illustrate  the  Fable;  five  to  illustrate  Narration;  and  one  to  illustrate 
each  of  the  other  patterns,  Some  of  the  model  speeches  run  to 


nine  or  ten  pages;  others,  to  six  or  eight;  the  shortest,  to  a  half -page. 
Each  model  is  preceded  by  comments  on  the  composition  of  that  par- 
ticular form.  Also,  most  models  are  divided  into  clearly  marked  sec- 
tions or  parts.  The  speech  to  illustrate  Refutation,  for  example,  is  on  the 
subject,  "It  is  not  like  to  be  true,  that  is  said  of  the  battaill  of  Troie,"  9  * 
and  it  is  divided  into  six  parts.  The  first  censures  all  poets  as  liars;  the 
second  states  Homer's  theory  of  the  cause  of  the  Trojan  war;  the  third 
reduces  that  theory  to  a  matter  of  doubt;  the  fourth,  to  an  incredibility; 
the  fifth,  to  an  impossibility  and  an  unlikelihood;  and  the  sixth,  makes 
out  Homer's  explanation  of  the  cause  of  the  war  to  be  an  unseemly  and 
unprofitable  notion. 

Rainolde's  Foundation,  published  in  1563,  appears  not  to  have  had 
a  second  edition  until  1945,  the  date  of  Professor  Johnson's  facsimile 
reprint.  Nevertheless,  interest  in  formulary  rhetoric  did  not  completely 
disappear  in  England  during  the  closing  years  of  the  sixteenth  century. 
Angel  Day's  The  English  Secretorie,  already  mentioned  as  a  stylistic 
rhetoric  of  the  fifteen-nineties,  is  also  a  formulary  rhetoric  by  virtue  of 
the  fact  that  it  contains  specimens  of  the  various  kinds  of  letters 
expected  of  a  practicing  secretary.  Two  other  works  of  the  last  decade 
of  the  sixteenth  century  must  likewise  be  remembered  as  collections  of 
exercises  for  speakers  and  writers.  One  of  these  works  is  Anthony 
Mundy^s  The  Defence  of  Contraries  ( London,  1593 ) ;  the  other,  Lazarus 
Piot's  The  Orator  (London,  1596). 

Mundy's  Defence  of  Contraries,  which  declares  itself  in  the  preface 
to  be  designed  to  show  lawyers  how  to  assemble  proofs  in  support  of 
causes  ordinarily  considered  indefensible,  contains  twelve  declamations 
on  themes  antagonistic  to  common  opinion.  In  the  first  declamation, 
poverty  is  held  to  be  better  than  riches;  in  the  second,  beauty  is  proved 
inferior  to  ugliness;  in  the  third,  ignorance  is  given  a  higher  rating  than 
knowledge;  in  the  seventh,  drunkenness  is  declared  better  than  sobriety; 
and  so  on.  Following  the  index  of  contents  at  the  end  of  the  work  is  "A 
Table  of  such  Paradoxes,  as  are  handled  in  the  Second  Volume,  which 
vpon  the  good  acceptation  of  this  first  Booke,  shall  the  sooner  be  pub- 
lished." The  fourteenth  and  last  declamation  in  this  projected  volume 
promises  to  uphold  the  thesis  "that  a  Lawyer  is  a  most  profitable  mem- 
ber in  a  Commonwealth."  Apparently,  however,  Mundy  never  added 
these  fourteen  declamations  to  his  original  twelve.  The  entire  group  of 
twenty-six  paradoxes,  as  Mundy  knew  them,  were  in  a  work  published 
at  Paris  in  1553  under  the  title,  Paradoxes,  ce  sont  propos  contre  la 
comune  opinion,  debatus  en  forme  de  declamations  foreses:  pour  exer- 
citer  les  jeunes  aduocats  en  causes  diffidles.  But  Mundy  may  not  have 
known  that  this  French,  work  was  a  translation*  by  Charles  Estienne  of 
twenty-six  of  the  thirty  declamations  which  had  been  originally  com- 


posed  in  Italian  by  Ortensio  Landi  and  published  at  Lyons  in  1543  as 
Paradossi  cio£  sententie  fuori  del  comun  parere. 

Lazarus  Piot's  The  Orator,  like  Mundy's  Defence  of  Contraries,  is  an 
importation  from  abroad.  Its  title  page  indicates  that  it  was  "written  in 
French  by  Alexander  Siluayn,  and  Englished  by  L.  P."  Siluayn  turns  out 
to  be  Alexandre  van  den  Busche;  the  French  work  in  question  turns  out 
to  be  Epitomes  de  Cent  Histoires  Tragicques;  and  "L.  P."  is  identified  in 
the  dedicatory  letter  of  The  Orator  as  Lazarus  Piot.  Until  recently, 
scholarship  has  considered  Piot  to  be  Anthony  Mundy,  and  The  Orator 
to  be  an  expansion  of  the  Defence  of  Contraries,  But  in  actual  fact,  as 
Celeste  Turner  has  shown  in  her  Anthony  Mundy  An  Elizabethan  Man 
of  Letters,  Piot  was  a  literary  rival  of  Mundy  in  the  field  of  translating, 
and  The  Orator  does  not  bear  the  slightest  relation  to  the  Defence  of 
Contraries,  except  that  both  works  are  formulary  rhetorics.  Piot's  The 
Orator  contains  a  preface  "To  the  Reader"  introducing  his  hundred 
"Rhethoricall  Declamations,"  and  asserting  that  their  use  by  "euery 
member  in  our  Commonweale,  is  as  necessary,  as  the  abuse  of  wilfull 
ignorance  is  odious."  He  then  specifies  the  readers  whom  he  wants  for 
his  declamations:  "If  thou  studie  law,  they  may  helpe  thy  pleadings,  or 
i£  diuinitie  (the  reformer  of  law)  they  may  perfect  they  [sic]  persua- 
sions. In  reasoning  of  priuate  debates,  here  maiest  thou  find  apt  meta- 
phors, in  incouraging  thy  souldiours  fit  motiues."  The  hundred  declama- 
tions that  make  up  Piot's  collection  are  organized  thus:  the  number 
and  title  of  the  declamation  are  first  given;  then  in  italic  type  is  a 
brief  statement  of  its  occasion;  then  in  roman  type  is  the  declamation  in 
two  parts,  one  part  being  the  speech  made  in  accusation,  the  other,  the 
speech  made  in  reply.  Declamation  95  will  serve  to  illustrate  how  the 
two  speeches  relate  to  each  other  in  every  one  of  the  exercises.  In  the 
first  speech  of  this  Declamation,  a  Jew  contests  a  judicial  ruling  that  he 
must  on  pain  of  death  take  no  more  or  no  less  than  an  exact  pound  of 
flesh  as  bond  for  the  debt  which  a  Christian  had  not  paid  on  the  proper 
date.  The  other  speech,  by  the  Christian,  claims  that  the  original  bond 
should  not  be  required  because  of  his  present  willingness  to  pay  the 
debt  in  money.  Declamation  95  is  of  interest  to  Shakespearean  scholars, 
some  of  whom  suggest  that  Shakespeare  derived  hints  from  it  for  his 
famous  scene  in  The  Merchant  of  Venice,  and  that  the  earliest  possible 
date  of  composition  of  that  play  may  thus  be  fixed  at  1596,  when  Piot's 
The  Orator  was  published. 

In  the  forty-six  years  between  1596  and  1642,  formulary  rhetorics  in 
the  tradition  of  Rainolde,  Mundy,  and  Piot  appear  to  have  gained  more 
of  a  foothold  in  English  secondary  education  than  they  had  been  able 
to  do  previously.  I  shall  enumerate  the  chief  works  in  this  growing 
movement  towards  the  use  of  the  rhetorical  model,  although  the  dis~ 


cussion  of  them  must  await  another  occasion.  Perhaps  first  in  time  was 
John  Clarke's  Transitionum  Rhetoricarum  Formulae,  in  Usitm  Schola- 
rwn  (London,  1628).  But  the  same  author's  Formulae  Qratoriae,  which 
had  reached  a  fourth  edition  by  1632,  appears  to  have  been  the  most 
influential  work  in  the  field  of  formulary  rhetoric  in  the  period  before 
the  first  Commencement  at  Harvard.  Thomas  Farnaby's  Index  Rhdori- 
cus,  already  mentioned  in  connection  with  the  revival  of  interest  in 
Ciceronian  rhetoric  during  the  first  half  of  the  seventeenth  century, 
should  now  be  listed  among  formulary  rhetorics  of  that  period;  for  by 
1638  the  Index  had  acquired  a  section  of  "Formulae  Oratoriae"  to  go 
with  its  exposition  of  four  of  the  topics  of  Cicero's  theory.  The  third  and 
last  of  the  formulary  rhetorics  to  require  mention  here  is  Thomas 
Home's  xsipocycoyioc  sive  Manuductio  in  Aedem  Palladis  (London, 
1641 ) .  This  little  book  of  175  pages  of  text  contains  a  general  introduc- 
tion on  reading  and  writing,  a  series  of  rhetorical  precepts,  and  a  con- 
cluding section  of  "Exemplaria."  It  would  seem  to  be  the  final  illustra- 
tion of  formulary  rhetoric  in  the  period  under  survey  here. 


Between  1584 .and- 1642,  the  Ramistic  pattern  of  rhetoric  and  of  dia- 
lectic constituted  the  dominant  theory  of  communication  in  England; 
arid  of  all  the  theories  under  discussion  here,  it  is  the  one  which  the  first 
graduating  class  at  Harvard  understood  best.  We  shall  see  later  why  it 
can  be  confidently  asserted  that  that  first  graduating  class  understood 
best  the  Ramistic  theory  of  communication.  Just  now  it  is  more  to  the 
point  to  observe  that  Ramistic  rhetoric  and  dialectic,  so  much  a  matter 
of  intimate  knowledge  on  the  part  of  the  educated  Englishman  of  the 
period  of  Marlowe,  Shakespeare,  and  Jonson,  became  obsolete  at  the 
end  of  the  seventeenth  century,  and  dropped  out  of  sight  altogether, 
with  the  result  that  even  historians  of  literary  theory  did  not  until 
recently  begin  to  recognize  how  important  Ramus'  version  of  these  two 
arts  was  in  its  own  time.95 

Tl^R§i»isMe-*iieorj  qf,  ppiOTiunication  means  two  things.  It  means 
firstTIiat  the  three  liberal  arts^  grammar,  rlietoric?  tod  dialectic,  are 
severely  dep^rbueatalized.,  and  separated  one  from  another  so  that 
materials  formerly  claimed  by  two  of  them  are  mad6  flie  exclusive  and 
fin^l  property  of  on$  or  the  other.  It  means  secondly  that  each,  of  these 
liberal  arts  is  Arranged,  for  the  reader  pr  student  $o  that  he  encounters 
first  tEe  definition  of  title  art  he  is  mastering^  thea  ar  statement  dividing 
it into  jtwo >mw  parts,  f^en  0  treatise  on  one  of  those  parts,  and  then  a 
treat^e  on  the  other,  each  maiii  part  being  divided  and  subdivided  in 
its  turn  until  finally  the  foundation  terms  and  illustrations  are  set  fortk 


The  first  of  these  characteristics  of  Ramism  can  be  seen  in  any  Ramis- 
tic  grammar,  dialectic,  and  rhetoric  of  the  period  under  discussion  here. 
A  Ramistic^grarAinar  is  always  divided  into  two  parts,  Etymology  and 
Syntax.  A  Ramistic  didgctjfe  is  always  divided  into  two  parts,  Invention 
and  Arrangement.  A  Ramistic  rhetoric  is  always  divided  into  two  parts. 
Style  and  Delivery.  Never,  as  in  the  old  stylistic  pattern  of  English 
rhetoric,  did  the  Ramists  permit  tropes  and  figures  to  be  classed  as 
grammatical  and  rhetorical,  for  that  kind  of  thinking  suggested  an 
untidy  duplication  between  grammar  and  rhetoric,  as  if  distinctions  had 
become  blurred  and  confused.  Never,  as  in  the  system  of  scholastic 
learning,  did  the  Ramists  permit  rhetoricians  to  write  upon  Invention 
and  Arrangement,  since  that  would  mean  a  duplication  between  their 
art  and  dialectic,  which,  as  we  noticed  earlier,  also  claimed  Invention 
and  Arrangement  as  its  own.  Never,  as  in  the  old  Ciceronian  theory  of 
rhetoric,  did  the  Ramists  allow  the  theory  of  the  parts  of  an  oration  to 
be  covered  under  the  topic  of  Invention,  since  that  would  sanction  a 
theft  by  Invention  of  materials  belonging  properly  to  the  topic  of 

The  second  of  the  two  main  characteristics  of  Ramism  is  also  obvious 
in  treatises  on  the  three  liberal  arts  in  the  late  sixteenth  and  early 
seventeenth  century.  The  best  place  to  look  for  an  illustration  of  this 
characteristic  is  in  Ramus*  own  Dialectique,  which  was  published  at 
Paris  in  1555  as  his  French  version  of  the  system  also  stated  in  his 
Dialecticae  Libri  Duo  (Paris,  1556).  The  text  proper  of  the  Dialectique 
begins  with  a  definition:  Dialectic^isjhe^^^  Next 

comes  a  brief  comment  on  tmV3efinition,  with  citations  from  Plato  and 
Aristotle.  Next  comes  the  partition:  Dialectic  has  two  parts,  Invention 
and  Arrangement.  Each  of  these  terms  is  at  once  defined,  the  defini- 
tions crisply  discussed,  and  the  lines  of  difference  between  them  estab- 
lished. Invention  is  then  made  to  assume  the  duty  of  explaining  what 
arguments  are  and  where  they  dwell.  Arguments  are  then  classified 
as  artificial  or  inartificial;  artificial  arguments  are  divided  into  the 
primary  and  the  derivative  primary;  primary  arguments  are  at  once 
given  four  species;  the  first  species  is  at  once  given  four  aspects.  Now, 
these  four  aspects  constitute  the  first  cluster  of  Ramus'  foundation 
terms.  By  this  time  we  have  reached  page  6  of  a  treatise  which  runs  to 
140  pages,  and  Ramus'  analysis  of  the  forms  of  argument  is  ready  to 
begin.  The  rest  of  this  work  is  as  severely  schematized  as  the  part  I  have 
just  described.  Divisions  of  material  are  always  enumerated  with  mathe- 
matical precision;  transitions  are  always  marked,  although  abruptly, 
and  without  grace;  illustrations  for  each  basic  term  appear  with  the 
regularity  of  the  refrain  at  the  end  of  stanzas  of  a  song. 

These  two  characteristics  of  Ramism  are  derived  from  laws  which 


Ranrus  thought  to  be  the  great  controlling  principles  of  the  philosophy 
of  learning.  He  applied  these  principles  in  the  first  instance  to  the  rela- 
tions between  subject  and  predicate  in  any  given  logical  proposition,06 
because  of  course  the  logical  proposition  was  the  form  in  which  knowl- 
edge got  itself  expressed,  and  thus  the  laws  governing  those  proposi- 
tions were  in  reality  the  very  determinants  of  knowledge.  But  as  time 
went  on,  these  principles  came  to  be  applied  to  the  relations  between 
one  statement  and  another  in  a  given  structure  of  statements.  In  this 
latter  environment  these  principles  are  customarily  called  by  the 
Ramists  the  law  of  justice,  the  law  of  truth,  and  the  law  of  wisdom.97 

The  law  of  justice  is  perhaps  best  explained  as  a  prohibition  against 
allowing  a  learned  treatise  to  deal  with  more  than  one  field  of  knowl- 
edge. Thus  if  the  subject  of  a  treatise  is  logic,  no  statements  belonging 
to  rhetoric  or  grammar  should  be  made  therein.  The  law  of  truth  is  a 
prohibition  against  allowing  a  learned  treatise  to  contain  statements 
only  partly  true  or  true  only  on  occasion.  A  statement  on  dialectic  in  a 
treatise  on  dialectic,  for  example,  must  not  be  subject  to  exceptions  or 
to  occasional  applications  to  other  disciplines.  The  law  of  wisdom  is  a 
prohibition  against  allowing  a  learned  treatise  to  be  a  disorderly  mixture 
of  general  principles,  particular  statements,  and  specific  cases.  Defini- 
tions, which  by  nature  are  general,  belong,  that  is,  on  one  plane,  Parti- 
tions on  a  lower,  Subdivisions  on  a  still  lower,  and  so  on. 

Roland  Macllmaine,  first  Briton  to  translate  Ramus'  dialectical  theory 
into  English,  prefaced  that  work  with  an  "Epistle  to  the  Reader/'  in 
which  he  shows  the  exuberance  of  the  Ramists  as  they  contemplated 
the  workings  of  their  master's  three  rules  upon  Aristotelian  dialectic 
and  upon  what  I  have  been  calling  here  the  Ciceronian  theory  of  rheto- 
ric. My  little  book,  says  Macllmaine,  contains  all  the  logical  doctrine 
to  be  found  anywhere  in  Aristotle,  and  all  the  logical  doctrine  to  be 
found  anywhere  in  Cicero  or  Quintilian.08  Here  are  the  words  used  by 
Macllmaine  to  describe  how  the  application  of  Ramus*  three  rules  to 
the  logical  and  rhetorical  writings  of  these  three  great  ancients  will 
result  in  a  reformed  dialectic  or  logic: 

Take  the  forenamed  bookes,  and  with  thy  rule  of  Justice  gene  to  euery 
arte  his  owne,  and  surely  if  my  iudgement  dothe  not  farre  deceaue  me,  thou 
must  geue  some  thing  to  the  Arte  of  Grammer,  some  thing  to  Rethoricke, 
some  thing  to  the  fower  mathematical!  artes,  Arithemeticke,  Geometric, 
Astrologie  and  Musicke,  some  thing  also  (althoughe  but  litle)  to  Phisicke, 
naturall  Philosophic,  and  diuinitie.  And  yet  all  that  is  in  these  bookes  (only 
the  fore  said  digressions  excepted)  dothe  appartaine  eyther  to  the  inuention 
of  Logicke,  or  els  to  the  iudgemente.  Now  gather  togeather  that  wich  re- 
mainethe,  after  euery  arte  hathe  receiued  his  owne,  and  see  if  there  be  any 
false,  ambiguous  or  vncertein  thing  amongest  it,  and  yf  there  be  (as  in  dede 
there  is  some)  take  thy  documente  of  veritie,  and  put  out  all  suche  sophis- 


ticall  speakinges.  And  last  perceiue  if  all  thinges  be  handled  according  to 
their  nature,  the  generall  generallye,  and  the  particuler  particulerlie,  if  not, 
take  thy  rule  of  wysdome,  and  do  according  as  the  third  documente  teach- 
ethe  thee:  abolyshe  all  tautalogies  and  vayne  repetitions,  and  so  thus  muche 
being  done,  thou  shalt  comprehende  the  rest  into  a  litle  rome." 

Now,  Ramus'  reformed  rhetoric,  which  began  on  the  assumption  that 
Invention  and  Arrangement  belonged  to  dialectic,  and  continued  on  the 
assumption  that  Style  and  Delivery  were  purely  and  properly  rhetorical, 
was  written  out  by  his  good  friend  and  colleague,  Audomarus  Talaeus, 
as  I  indicated  earlier.  Talaeus'  rhetorical  system,  published  at  Paris  in 
1544  as  the  Institutiones  Oratoriae,  and  later  as  the  Rhetorica,  accepts 
explicitly  these  two  assumptions  of  Ramus,100  and  proceeds  to  reduce 
Style  as  the  first  part  of  the  new  rhetoric  to  Tropes  and  Figures,  whereas 
Delivery,  the  second  part  of  the  new  rhetoric,  is  made  to  consist  of 
Voice  and  Gesture.  In  this  form  the  rhetorical  aspect  of  Ramus'  theory 
of  communication  was  introduced  into  England. 

The  story  of  Ramus'  influence  upon  English  rhetoric  has  already  been 
sketched  in  another  place,101  and  only  a  few  points  need  be  repeated 
here.  One  is  that,  after  Macllmaine  gave  Ramus'  Dialecticae  Libri  Duo 
its  first  Latin  edition  on  English  soil  in  1574,  and  its  first  English  trans- 
lation that  same  year,  Ciceronian  rhetoric  went  into  an  eclipse  in  Eng- 
land for  a  half-century,  its  ancient  procedures  being  carried  on  in  part 
by  Ramistic  dialectic  and  in  part  by  Ramistic  rhetoric.102  Another  point 
to  be  remembered  is  that  many  other  Englishmen  besides  Macllmaine 
had  an  important  role  in  making  the  Ramistic  theory  of  communication 
popular  in  England  before  1642.  Chief  among  these  are  Dudley  Fenner, 
Abraham  Fraunce,  Charles  Butler,  Samuel  Wotton,  Thomas  Spencer, 
Alexander  Richardson,  Robert  Fage,  and  John  Barton. 

Dudley  Fenner's  importance  lies  in  the  fact  that  his  Artes  of  Logike 
and  Rethorike,  published  anonymously  at  a  continental  press  in  Mid- 
delburg  in  1584,  and  in  a  second  edition  under  Fenner's  name  at  the 
same  place  four  years  later,  is  the  first  one-volume  English  translation 
of  the  main  heads  both  of  Ramus'  Dialecticae  Libri  Duo  and  Talaeus' 
Rhetorica.  Fenner  does  not  acknowledge  his  work  as  a  translation  of 
these  two  authors,  an  indication,  no  doubt,  that,  to  all  of  his  contem- 
poraries at  all  interested  in  logic  and  rhetoric,  such  an  acknowledgment 
would  be  superfluous. 

Abraham  Fraunce  is  important  as  the  second  English  translator  of 
the  main  heads  of  both  the  Dialecticae  Libri  Duo  and  the  Rhetorica. 
Unlike  Fenner,  however,  Fraunce  published  his  translations  separately, 
the  first  as  The  Lawiers  Logike  (London,  1588),  and  the  other  at  the 
same  place  and  in  the  same  year  as  The  Arcadian  Rhetorike.™*  The 
Arcadian  Rhetorike  differs  in  two  ways  at  least  from  Fenner's  similar 


work:  it  translates  the  major  points  of  Talaeus'  doctrine  of  Delivery, 
whereas  Fenner  had  not;  and  it  provides  its  illustrations  from  among 
standard  classical  and  modern  authors,  including  Sidney,  whereas 
Fenner  had  found  his  illustrations  in  the  Bible.  The  Lawiers  Logike 
also  differs  from  Fenner  s  similar  work  in  placing  a  heavy  emphasis  not 
only  upon  the  relation  between  logic  and  law  but  also  upon  the  exposi- 
tion of  leading  points  of  Ramistic  doctrine. 

Charles  Butler  is  an  important  figure  in  the  history  of  Ramistic  rhe- 
toric on  two  counts.  First,  his  Rhetoricae  Libri  Duo,  first  published  in 
1597, 10i  carried  Ramistic  rhetoric  into  the  public  schools  of  England, 
and  enjoyed  a  phenomenal  success,  being  still  mentioned  as  a  popular 
book  in  1659.105  Secondly,  his  Oratoriae  Libri  Duo,  first  published  at 
Oxford  in  1629,  pays  a  handsome  tribute  to  Ramus'  reform  of  the  liberal 
arts,  and  at  the  same  time  proceeds  to  violate  one  of  the  cardinal  tenets 
of  that  reform  by  offering  a  theory  of  Invention,  Arrangement,  and 
Memory,  as  if  the  first  two  of  these  terms  were  no  longer  the  exclusive 
property  of  logic.100  Butler's  tribute  to  Ramus  occurs  as  he  is  making 
ready  to  adapt  to  the  needs  of  oratory  Ramus'  doctrine  of  the  places  of 
dialectical  Invention.  Says  he: 

These  brief  and  methodical  precepts  concerning  the  places  or  kinds  of  argu- 
ments are  supplied  from  Peter  Ramus,  whose  singular  acuteness  in  rebuilding 
the  Arts  I  am  never  able  to  admire  enough;  and  they  are  not  so  much  as- 
sembled in  part  as  adopted  in  full.  Except  some  in  Ramus  are  brought  forth 
somewhat  differently  here,  to  the  end  that  they  may  be  adapted  to  the  use 
of  oratory.  But  not  of  course  in  any  wrong  sense.  For  whatever  cannot  be  set 
forth  in  a  better  fashion,  why  should  it  be  made  worse  by  change?  10T 

When  Butler  uttered  these  words  in  1629,  he  apparently  was  not  aware 
that  fifty-five  years  before  a  good  English  Ramist  would  have  con- 
sidered it  improper  to  treat  the  places  of  Invention  anywhere  but  in  a 
treatise  on  dialectic.  In  fact,  Roland  Macllmaine?  whose  enthusiasm  ior 
Rarnism  has  already  been  noticed,  said  in  the  prefatory  "Epistle  to  the 
Reader"  accompanying  his  translation  of  1574  that  any  learned  writer 
must  avoid  the  very  thing  Butler  later  did.  MacIImaine's  words  are: 

Is  he  not  worthie  to  be  mocked  of  all  men,  that  purposetlie  to  wryte  of 
Grammer,  and  in  euery  other  chapiter  mynglethe  something  of  Logfcke,  and 
some  thing  of  Hethoricke:  and  contrarie  when  he  purposetlie  to  write  of 
Logicke  dothe  speake  of  Grammer  and  Rethoricke.108 

Samuel  Wotton,  Thomas  Spencer,  and  Robert  Page  are  worthy  of 
mention  in  a  history  of  Ramism  in  England  because  each  of  them  pub- 
lished a  translation  of  Ramus'  Dialecticae  Libri  Duo  in  the  six  years 
between  1626  and  1632,  when  interest  in  that  work  appears  to  have 
been  especially  strong.100  Alexander  Richardson  is  of  importance  for  his 


English  commentary  on  Ramistic  dialectic,  published  at  London  in  1629 
as  The  Logicians  School-Master:  or,  A  Comment  vpon  Ramvs  Logicke. 
John  Barton  is  of  importance  because  his  Art  of  Rhetorick  Concisely 
and  Compleatly  Handled,  which  appeared  at  London  in  1634,  is  thor- 
oughly Ramistic  in  its  treatment  of  rhetoric,  even  though  Barton  shows 
some  tendency  in  his  preface,  "To  the  Reader/'  to  question  whether 
Style  and  Delivery  are  the  only  concerns  of  rhetorical  theory.110  Barton 
opens  the  actual  text  of  his  treatise  with  the  following  words: 

Rhetorick  is  the  skill  of  using  daintie  words,  and  comely  deliverie,  whereby 
to  work  upon  mens  affections.  It  hath  two  parts,  Adornation  and  Action.111 

Thereafter  Barton  discusses  Adornation  as  an  exclusive  product  of  the 
tropes  and  figures,  whereas  Action  is  to  him  a  matter  of  gesture  and 
utterance.  The  English  text  of  his  work  runs  to  thirty-five  pages,  after 
which  is  a  Latin  translation  of  it,  entitled  "Rhetorices  Enchiridion." 

Barton's  Art  of  Rhetorick  is  the  last  example  of  Ramistic  theory  to 
receive  consideration  here,  where  I  am  limiting  myself  to  the  period 
before  Harvard's  first  Commencement.  Ramistic Jheory^  still  had  vitality 
by  1642,  and  it  was  to  exercise  a  contirnTfng  influence  upon  English 
rhetoric  during  the  remainder  of  the  seventeenth  century.  But  forces 
were  beginning  to  work  against  it  by  1642y  and  they  were  ultimately  to 
make  it  look  obsolete,  even  a?  at  first  it  had  made  Ciceronian  rhetoric 
look  cumbersome,  redundant,  and  medieval.  One  of  the  forces  working 
against  Ramism  in  the  latter  part  of  the  sixteen-hundreds  had  been  set 
in  motion  by  the  publication  of  Francis  Bacon's  philosophical  writings 
in  the  early  years  of  that  very  century,  and  to  that  author  we  must  now 
turn  for  a  rhetorical  theory  that  stands  as  a  counterpoise  to  the  existing 
theories  of  its  time. 


Francis  Bacon's  complete  theory  of  rhetoric  exists  in  passages  scat- 
tered throughout  his  many  works.  I  shall  not  attempt  here  to  recon- 
struct that  theory,  because  in  the  first  place  I  would  not  have  room  to 
do  so,  and  in  the  second  place  that  very  subject  has  already  received 
a  full  measure  of  attention  and  an  able  treatment  by  Professor  Karl 
Wallace.112  What  I  shall  do  here  is  to  confine  myself  to  the  Advance- 
ment of  Learning,  which  between  1605  and  1642  received  at  English 
presses  four  editions  in  English  and  one  in  Latin 113;  and  to  show  that 
Bacon's  ejcdlent  jliscussto^  only 

anTipress  reaction  to  stylistic,  Ciceronian^  J: orrrmlary,  ,and  Ramistic 
i-fijpf pric^  fmt  also  an  indication  oTa~new  future  for  ffie^^ciy.dE  com- 


Stylistic  rhetoric,  with  its  preponderant  emphasis  upon  the  third  part 
of  the  Ciceronian  program,  and  with  its  delight  in  enumerating  the 
tropes  and  figures  as  standard  ways  in  which  verbal  expression  could 
depart  from  the  ordinary  patterns  of  speech,  receives  attention  in  Book 
I  of  the  Advancement  of  Learning,  where  Bacon  is  speaking  of  the  three 
diseases  which  had  beset  learning  in  the  preceding  century.  One  of 
these  diseases  Bacon  calls  "delicate  learning,"— learning  that  strives  for 
"vain  affectations."  114  This  particular  disease  turns  out  in  Bacon's 
description  to  be  an  excessive  addiction  to  stylistic  rhetoric. 

Bacon  explains  the  origin  of  this  malady  of  culture  by  saying  that 
Martin  Luther,  as  a  member  of  the  party  of  reform  in  his  own  time,  had 
summoned  ancient  authors  to  bear  witness  against  that  time,  and  thus 
had  encouraged  an  exact  study  of  the  language  of  those  authors,  and  "a 
delight  in  their  manner  of  style  and  phrase."  lir>  Meanwhile,  the  old 
party,  the  schoolmen,  "whose  writings  were  altogether  in  a  differing 
style  and  form,"  116  had  offered  opposition  to  the  new  party.  The  peo- 
ple, who  were  the  prize  of  war  in  the  struggle  between  the  two  parties, 
and  whom  both  parties  were  bent  upon  winning  and  persuading,  caused 
the  development  of  a  type  of  eloquence  in  which  variety  of  discourse 
was  thought  "the  fittest  and  forciblest  access  into  the  capacity  of  the 
vulgar  sort."  11T  What  Bacon  adds  at  this  point  may  be  quoted  to  show 
that  these  pressures  led  to  the  partial  eclipse  of  the  rhetoric  of  Inven- 
tion and  Arrangement  and  to  the  overemphasis  upon  the  rhetoric  of 

So  that  these  four  causes  concurring,  the  admiration  of  ancient  authors,  the 
hate  of  the  schoolmen,  the  exact  study  of  languages,  and  the  efficacy  of 
preaching,  did  bring  in  an  affectionate  study  of  eloquence  and  copie  of 
speech,  which  then  began  to  flourish.  This  grew  speedily  to  an  excess;  for 
men  began  to  hunt  more  after  words  than  matter;  and  more  after  the  choice- 
ness  of  the  phrase,  and  the  round  and  clean  composition  of  the  sentence,  and 
the  sweet  falling  of  the  clauses,  and  the  varying  and  illustration  of  their  works 
with  tropes  and  figures,  than  after  the  weight  of  matter,  worth  of  subject, 
soundness  of  argument,  life  of  invention,  or  depth  of  judgment, IIB 

In  the  list  of  authors  cited  immediately  by  Bacon  to  illustrate  exces- 
sive devotion  to  the  stylistic  aspect  of  communication,  we  find  critics 
of  Ramism  like  Ascham,  and  precursors  of  Ramism  like  Sturm,  whom 
Ramus  himself  acknowledges  as  his  teacher.110  Thus  Bacon's  disap- 
proval of  stylistic  rhetoric  may  be  accepted  as  criticism  of  the  Sherry- 
Peacham-Hoskins  tradition  as  well  as  criticism  of  Talaeus,  Fenner,  and 
Fraunce.  To  both  traditions  the  following  words  of  Bacon  apply  as  he 
summarizes  the  first  disease  of  learning: 

Here  therefore  the  first  distemper  of  learning,  when  men  study  words  and  not 
matter:  whereof  though  I  have  represented  an  example  of  late  times,  yet  it 


hath  been  and  will  be  secundum  majus  et  minus  in  all  time, ...  It  seems  to 
me  that  Pygmalion's  frenzy  is  a  good  emblem  or  portraiture  of  this  vanity: 
for  words  are  but  the  images  of  matter;  and  except  they  have  life  of  reason 
and  invention,  to  fall  in  love  with  them  is  all  one  as  to  fall  in  love  with  a 

Towards  the  Ciceronian  tradition  Bacon  shows  more  respect  than  he 
does  towards  stylistic  rhetoric.  As  he  discusses  Natural  Philosophy  in 
Book  II  of  the  Advancement  of  Learning,  he  speaks  of  his  intention  to 
use  the  word  Metaphysic  in  a  sense  of  his  own;  but  he  says  he  hopes 
men  of  judgment  will  see  "that  in  this  and  other  particulars,  whereso- 
ever my  conception  and  notion  may  differ  from  the  ancient,  yet  I  am 
studious  to  keep  the  ancient  terms."  121  Bacon  is  indeed  studious  to  keep 
the  ancient  terms  of  Ciceronian  rhetoric  within  his  philosophy  of 
learning.  He  is  also  studious,  of  course,  to  show  wherein  his  own  con- 
ceptions differ  from  the  ancient.  Thus  he  gives  the  five  procedures  of 
Cicero's  rhetorical  theory  a  place  in  learning,  not  when  he  speaks  of 
rhetoric  itself,  but  as  he  approaches  that  subject. 

These  five  procedures,  condensed  into  four,  appear  as  he  begins  his 
discussion  of  the  Intellectual  Arts.  Here  are  his  own  words: 

The  Arts  Intellectual  are  four  in  number;  divided  according  to  the  ends 
whereunto  they  are  referred,  for  man's  labour  is  to  invent  that  which  is 
sought  or  propounded;  or  to  judge  that  which  is  invented;  or  to  retain  that 
which  is  judged;  or  to  deliver  over  that  which  is  retained.  So  as  the  arts  must 
be  four;  Art  of  Inquiry  or  Invention:  Art  of  Examination  or  Judgment;  Art  of 
Custody  or  Memory;  and  Art  of  Elocution  or  Tradition.122 

A  few  pages  later,  Bacon  defines  "Tradition"  as  "Delivery"— "the 
expressing  or  transferring  our  knowledge  to  others."  123  Thus  to  him  the 
terms  Style  and  Delivery  of  Ciceronian  rhetoric  become  a  single  term, 
Tradition;  and  Tradition  stands  for  thd  process  of  -communication,  to 
which  grammar,  logic,  and  rhetoric  make  their  distinctive  contributions. 
At  the  end  of  Book  I  of  the  Advancement  of  Learning  Bacon  speaks  of 
books  under  the  image  of  ships  which  "pass  through  the  vast  seas  of 
time,  and  make  ages  so  distant  to  participate  of  the  wisdom,  illumina- 
tions, and  inventions,  the  one  of  the  other."  124  These  books,  these  com- 
munications, are  the  product  of  the  great  Intellectual  Art,  Tradition; 
and,  in  Bacon's  analysis,  grammar  contributes  to  Tradition  by  supply- 
ing knowledge  of  speech  and  words,  logic,  by  supplying  knowledge  of 
the  method  of  presentation,  and  rhetoric,  by  supplying  knowledge  of 
the  means  by  which  thoughts  may  be  vividly  represented  to  man's 

Before  Bacon  discusses  Tradition  as  the  fourth  Intellectual  Art,  he 
speaks  of  the  other  three.  He  finds  the  first  one,  Invention,  to  be  defi- 
cient so  far  as  it  might  address  itself  to  a  technique  by  which  new 


knowledge  is  discovered.  He  finds  it  more  than  sufficient,  however,  in 
respect  to  speech  or  argument,  although,  as  he  emphasizes,  this  sort  of 
invention  is  not  properly  invention  in  the  sense  of  the  discovery  of 
something  new,  but  invention  only  in  the  sense  of  a  resummoning  of 
what  we  already  know.120  He  indicates  two  existing  mechanisms  for 
assisting  invention  in  this  latter  sense:  the  promptuaries,  and  the 
topics.127  The  promptuaries  include  the  doctrine  of  positions  in  Ciceron- 
ian rhetoric,  and  collections  of  such  ready-made  devices  as  speech  intro- 
ductions.128 The  topics  are  made  up  of  the  places  of  logic.329 

Bacon's  treatment  of  Invention  may  well  be  the  first  important  rein- 
terpretation  of  the  theory  of  rhetorical  invention  to  be  made  in  the 
Christian  era.  It  indicates  that  the  classical  theory  carries  the  speaker 
back  to  all  the  general  wisdom  which,  on  the  one  hand,  is  relevant  to 
his  subject,  and,  on  the  other,  is  known  already.  It  also  indicates  that, 
good  as  the  classical  theory  is  for  its  purposes,  it  cannot  give  the  speaker 
new  facts  about  his  subject,  for  these  new  facts  corne  only  as  that  sub- 
ject is  studied  in  and  for  itself.  Thus  Bacon's  criticism  of  Invention  may 
be  taken  in  historical  perspective  to  suggest  the  ultimate  disappearance 
from  rhetorical  theory  of  the  elaborate  Latin  doctrine  of  postures  or 
positions  of  argument,  and  the  ultimate  emergence  in  rhetorical  theory 
of  the  doctrine  that  the  speaker  learns  what  to  say  only  by  the  most 
conscientious  study  of  the  facts  of  the  matter  with  which  his  speech 

Bacon's  discussion  of  Judgment  and  Memory  as  the  second  and  third 
of  the  Intellectual  Arts  need  not  be  summarized  here.  I  should  only 
like  to  say  that,  when  Bacon  speaks  of  Memory,  he  shows  his  knowl- 
edge of  the  memory  system  I  have  mentioned  before  in  connection 
with  my  account  of  Hawes  and  Wilson.130 

When  Bacon  comes  to  discuss  rhetoric  as  the  third  science  in  the 
process  of  Delivery  or  Tradition,  grammar  and  logic  being,  as  I  have 
said,  the  other  two,  he  begins  with  these  words; 

Now  we  descend  to  that  part  which  concerneth  the  Illustration  of  Tradition, 
comprehended  in  that  science  which  we  call  Rhetoric,  or  Art  of  Eloquence; 
a  science  excellent,  and  excellently  well  laboured.131 

He  then  mentions  the  rhetorics  of  Aristotle  and  Cicero  as  works  in 
which  those  writers  "exceed  themselves."  132  As  for  his  own  conception 
of  this  science,  his  words  cut  through  to  the  very  essentials: 

The  duty  and  office  of  Rhetoric  is  to  apply  Reason  to  Imagination  for  the 
better  moving  of  the  will.133 

In  his  ensuing  elaboration  of  this  thesis,  he  says  in  effect:  if  speakers 
take  the  truth  and  state  it  merely  in  terms  of  "naked  propositions  and 


proofs/' 134  the  Reason  of  man  may  accept  it,  and  want  to  follow  it;  but 
the  Passions  or  Affections  of  man,  a  rebellious  and  unruly  faculty,  may 
not  accept  it  as  truth,  may  want  to  follow  something  else;  in  this  con- 
flict between  Reason  and  the  Affections,  a  victory  for  the  Passions  would 
be  inevitable,  "if  Eloquence  of  Persuasions  did  not  practise  and  win 
the  Imagination  from  the  Affection's  part,  and  contract  a  confederacy 
between  the  Reason  and  Imagination  against  the  Affections."  135  In 
other  words,  Rhetoric  becomes  the  means  by  which  man  appeals  to 
the  Imagination,  and  wins  this  faculty  to  the  support  of  Reason,  so 
that  both  faculties  together  can  nullify  the  disruptive  effects  of  the 
Passions,  and  can  thus  control  the  Will. 

Shot  full  as  it  is  with  the  imagery  of  statecraft  and  faculty  psychology, 
this  theory  of  rhetoric  nevertheless  seems  suddenly  to  reach  back 
through  the  centuries  to  the  pre-Ciceronian  era,  when  Plato  was  dis- 
cussing rhetoric  in  Phaedrus  and  was  analyzing  the  soul  of  man  under 
the  figure  of  the  charioteer  and  the  two  horses.  That  Bacon  had  been 
reading  Phaedrus  before  he  wrote  his  account  of  rhetoric  in  the  Ad- 
vancement of  Learning  is  proved  by  the  fact  that  he  quotes  that  work 
shortly  after  his  admiring  references  to  the  rhetorics  of  Cicero  and 
Aristotle.136  Another  proof  of  the  influence  of  Plato  upon  Bacon  in  the 
field  of  rhetoric  comes  when  Bacon  suggests  that  the  proofs  of  rhetoric 
must  differ  according  to  the  auditors,  and  that  this  notion  "in  perfection 
of  idea,  ought  to  extend  so  far,  that  if  a  man  should  speak  of  the  same 
thing  to  several  persons,  he  should  speak  to  them  all  respectively  and 
several  ways"— a  suggestion  that  Plato  makes  much  of  in  Phaedrus.137 
Incidentally,  it  is  this  Platonic  notion  that  Bacon  recommends  for  fur- 
ther inquiry  by  the  coming  generation  of  rhetoricians.138 

Thus  far  this  discussion  of  Bacon's  rhetorical  theory  has  involved  an 
analysis  of  his  disapproval  of  stylistic  rhetoric,  whether  in  the  tradi- 
tional or  the  Ramistic  pattern,  and  an  analysis  of  his  wish  at  once  to 
preserve  and  to  reinterpret  the  chief  terms  of  Ciceronian  rhetoric.  It 
has  been  emphasized  that  Bacon's  reinterpretation  of  the  term  Invention 
lgoks_toward,  although  it  doeiTTl^  the 

doctrine  of  positions  ftttttt  rhetorical  theory.  It  has  also  been  indicated 
that  Bacon^s  reinterpfelaffo^qiF  Delivery  as  Elocution  or  Tradition,  and 
of  rhetoric  as  the  "Illustration  of  ^f^^a^^  ^fStoies  to  rhetoric. its 
commuriicatLve  function  and  gives  it,  not  by  implication  butjeroressly, 
the  task  of  reaching  and  persuading"  mien.  It  has  also  Been  shown"  that 
Baconlt&plcs''ofl'aifuture  rfiefptf^^effpMliy  tP,ttiie,srtudy^of  tibe  rela- 
^E^k^SS^S^^^^^^^Ji^  audience^^^diQW.?.  Let  us  n'b^bflflfly 
examine  Bacon's  reaction  to  Ramistic  logic  and  to  formulary  rhetoric. 

Raraus  had  ponceived  of  the  process  of  communication  as  a  whole  to 
which  dialectic  contributed  Invention  and  Arrangement;  and  to  which 


rhetoric  contributed  Style  and  Delivery.  Moreover,  Arrangement  was  to 
Ramus  a  term  which  included  the  whole  subject  of  method  in  dis- 
course. His  theory  of  method  was  that  a  learned  treatise  should  be 
organized  by  a  procedure  of  definition,  partition,  and  illustration,  with 
bipartite  divisions  of  subject  matter  wherever  possible.  A  popular 
treatise,  he  thought,  could  be  organized  less  severely,  but  his  followers 
tended  to  slight  this  aspect  of  his  theory,  and  to  emphasize  the  other.139 
When  Bacon  comes  to  discuss  method  as  the  second  of  the  three  arts 
of  Tradition  or  communication,  he  makes  it  a  part  of  logic,  as  Ramus 
had  done.  He  says  that  the  subject  of  method  "hath  moved  a  contro- 
versy in  our  time"  14°— an  obvious  reference  to  the  dispute  between 
Ramists  and  the  scholastics  upon  this  matter.  Then  he  indicates  what 
to  him  is  the  difference  between  one  sort  of  communicative  method  and 
the  other: 

And  therefore  the  most  real  diversity  of  method  is  of  method  referred  to  Use, 
and  method  referred  to  Progression;  whereof  the  one  may  be  termed  Magis- 
tral, and  the  other  of  Probation.141 

The  first  of  these  methods  Bacon  explains  obliquely  as  that  form  of 
presentation  which  is  best  for  making  knowledge  believed;  the  second, 
as  that  form  of  presentation  which  is  best  for  getting  knowledge 
examined.  He  finds  this  second  method  to  be  neglected  in  his  time.142 
The  first  method,  which  was  precisely  what  Ramus  regarded  as  the 
method  for  the  learned  treatise,  Bacon  finds  to  be  misused  in  the  truly 
scientific  discourse,  and  to  be  more  appropriate  to  the  teacher. 

Thus  Bacon  differs  from  Ramus  on  the  question  of  the  method  to  be 
followed  in  organizing  a  work  of  science  or  learning.  litmus  wants  a 
dogmatic  method,  Bacon  a  suggestive.  But  Bacon  has  one 'further 
objection  to  Ramus'  concept  of  method  in  communication;  he  believes 
that  Ramus'  three  laws  are  excellent,  but  that  the  application  of  the  law 
of  wisdom  to  the  learned  treatise  has  produced  a  "canker  of  Epitomes/' 
and  a  "uniform  method  and  dichotomies,"  the  result  of  which  has  been 
that  "the  kernels  and  grains  of  the  sciences  leap  out,  and  they  are  left 
with  nothing  in  their  grasp  but  the  dry  and  barren  husks."  14S 

One  other  difference  between  Bacon  and  Ramus  should  be  noted.  It 
concerns  the  relation  of  logic  to  rhetoric.  Whereas  Ramus  believed  these 
two  arts  to  be  divided  in  respect  to  subject  matter,  so  that  logic  would 
always  discuss  Invention  and  Arrangement,  with  rhetoric  always  lim- 
ited to  Style  and  Delivery,  Bacon  sees  the  two  arts  as  operating  in  two 
different  spheres  of  communication,  one  sphere  being  the  world  of 
learning,  the  other,  the  world  of  practical  affairs.  Says  Bacon: 

It  appeareth  also  that  Logic  differeth  from  Rhetoric,  not  only  as  the  fist  from 
the  palm,  the  one  close  the  other  at  large;  but  much  more  in  this,  that  Logic 


handleth  reason  exact  and  in  truth,  and  Rhetoric  handleth  it  as  it  is  planted 
in  popular  opinions  and  manners.  And  therefore  Aristotle  doth  wisely  place 
Rhetoric  as  between  Logic  on  the  one  side  and  moral  or  civil  knowledge  on 
the  other,  as  participating  of  both. .  .  ,144 

Bacon  closes  his  account  of  rhetoric  with  a  note  about  its  present 
deficiencies,  and  it  is  here  that  he  mentions  formulary  rhetoric.  He  had 
touched  upon  it  before  in  his  remarks  upon  Invention,  as  my  discussion 
of  his  attitude  toward  promptuaries  has  shown.  Now  he  suggests  that  a 
preparatory  store  of  theses  should  be  made  up  for  the  use  of  speakers 
and  that  a  collection  of  formulas  representing  introductions,  conclu- 
sions, digressions,  transitions,  and  excusations  should  be  undertaken.145 
Thus  h^wants  formulary  rhetoric  enriched,  and  this  enrichment  came 
later,  as  we  have  seen,  in  the  works  of  Clarke,  Farnaby,  and  Home. 

Bacon's  rhetorical  theory  did  not  replace  the  theories  which  had 
flourished  in  England  during  the  sixteenth  century.  Indeed,  as  I  have 
shown,  Ciceronian  rhetoric  was  revised  by  Vicars,  Farnaby,  and  Pemble 
in  the  period  between  1620  and  1640;  and  that  was  the  time  when  the 
Advancement  of  Learning  was  being  given  four  separate  editions. 
Meanwhile,  Ramistic  rhetoric  was  merging  with  the  older  English 
stylistic  rhetoric,  without  loss  to  the  popularity  of  the  tropes  and  the 
figures.  And  in  the  same  period,  formulary  rhetoric  was  being  improved 
in  the  direction  which  Bacon  had  indicated.  But  Bacon's  theory  had 
three  advantages  over  its  rivals.  First,  it  was  stated  in  a  work  that 
exercised  a  profound  influence  upon  the  intellectual  life  of  the  seven- 
teenth century.  Secondly,  it  brought  to  rhetorical  theory  the  stimulating 
influence  of  Plato  and  Aristotle  at  a  time  when  traditional  English 
theory  had  hardened  into  perfunctory  conventions.  Thirdly,  it  was  for- 
mulated, not  in  what  Bacon  somewhat  scornfully  terms  the  Magistral 
method,  but  in  what  he  approvingly  calls  the  method  of  Probation. 
That  is  to  say,  it  was  stated  to  invite  further  inquiry  rather  than  to  force 
assent.  In  Book  I  of  the  Advancement  of  Learning,  Bacon  had  observed 
that  "knowledge,  while  it  is  in  aphorisms  and  observations,  it  is  in 
growth;  but  when  it  once  is  comprehended  in  exact  methods,  it  may  per- 
chance be  further  polished  and  illustrate,  and  accommodated  for  use 
and  practice;  but  it  increaseth  no  more  in  bulk  and  substance."  146  This 
latter  method  Bacon  did  not  allow  to  enter  into  his  rhetorical  theory. 
He  fashioned  his  theory  in  aphorisms  and  observations,  and  so  left  it 
in  growth. 

How  far  English  rhetoric  developed  in  the  seventeenth  century  to- 
wards a  new  theory  of  communication  is  a  subject  which  lies  outside 
the  scope  of  my  present  essay.  But  such  a  development  did  take  place. 
It  can  be  seen  taking  place  in  the  decision  of  the  Royal  Society  to  keep 
out  of  their  scientific  writing  "these  specious  Tropes  and  Figures/'  to 


keep  out  also  "all  the  amplifications,  digressions,  and  swellings  of  style," 
and  to  exact  "from  all  their  members,  a  close,  naked,  natural  way  of 
speaking."  147  It  can  be  seen  taking  place  in  the  renewed  interest  in 
Aristotle's  Rhetoric  among  Englishmen  during  the  seventeenth  century, 
as  evidenced  especially  by  Thomas  Hobbes'  English  abridgement  of 
that  work,  published  about  1637  under  the  title,  A  Brief e  of  the  Art  of 
Rhetorique.  It  can  be  seen  taking  place  in  Joseph  GlanvnTs  An  Essay 
Concerning  Preaching,  published  at  London  in  1678.  And  it  can  be  seen 
taking  place  in  the  interest  shown  in  the  first  English  translation  of  The 
Port  Royal  Logic  in  1685. 14S  But  these  developments  occurred  after  the 
first  Commencement  at  Harvard,  and  thus  were  not  part  of  the  English 
record  at  the  time  when  higher  learning  began  in  New  England. 


On  September  23,  1642,  Harvard  College  held  her  first  Commence- 
ment and  graduated  nine  young  men.149  These  young  men  were  more 
heavily  committed  to  the  Ramistic  theory  of  communication  than  to 
any  of  the  other  theories  I  have  discussed.  After  all,  the  program  of  that 
first  Commencement  lists  the  theses  which  the  graduates  were  prepared 
to  defend  as  a  result  of  their  training  under  Henry  Dunster,  and  the 
rhetorical  and  logical  theses  on  that  program  are  heavily  Ramistic.  The 
twelfth  logical  thesis,  for  example,  is  an  invitation  to  the  graduates  to 
discuss  Ramus*  three  laws:  TPraecepta  Artium  debent  esse  KCCT& 
Tcdvxoq,  KocG*  a6x6,  Koc9*  6Xou  Ttpakov."  15°  Moreover,  in  the  library 
which  John  Harvard  had  bequeathed  in  1638  to  the  college  subse- 
quently named  for  him,  there  was  a  copy  of  Ramus'  Dialecticae  Lihri 
Duo  and  Talaeus'  Rhetorica—the  two  works  suited  before  all  others  to 
give  those  nine  first  graduates  a  command  of  the  Ramistic  theory  of 
communication.151  We  may  be  sure  that  the  graduates  knew  how 
Ramus  had  assigned  Invention  and  Arrangement  to  dialectic,  Style 
and  Delivery  to  rhetoric,  as  part  of  his  program  of  giving  each  art  what 
properly  belonged  to  it  under  the  law  of  justice.  Thus  we  may  also  be 
sure  that  the  four  main  terms  of  Ciceronian  rhetoric  were  familiar  to 
New  England's  first  college  graduates,  even  if  those  terms  came  to  them 
in  the  reformed  system  of  Ramus. 

But  there  is  a  strong  likelihood  that  those  terms  were  also  known  to 
that  graduating  class  from  non-Ramistic  sources,  John  Harvard's  library 
contained  the  Rhetoricorum  Libri  Quinque  of  Georgius  TrapezuntiiiSj 
a  scholar  of  the  fifteenth  century; 152  and  that  work  is  an  excellent  and 
ample  treatise  on  the  five  procedures  anciently  assigned  by  Cicero  to 
rhetoric,  with  definitions  of  them  from  the  Rhetorica  ad  Herennium  and 
De  Inventione.  Possibly  the  first  graduating  class  could  have  learned 


these  five  procedures  directly  from  Cicero,  if  trie  copy  of  Cicero's  Opera 
Omnia  in  John  Harvard's  library  happened  to  include  the  rhetorical 
works.153  As  for  the  pre-Ramistic  rhetoric  of  tropes  and  figures,  the 
graduates  could  have  mastered  that  in  Henry  Peacham's  Garden  of 
Eloquence,  a  copy  of  which  was  in  John  Harvard's  library,  possibly  as 
a  relic  of  his  own  school  days  in  England.154  John  Harvard's  library  also 
contained  a  copy  of  the  Advancement  of  Learning,155  and  thus  the 
graduates  had  access  to  the  new  learning  and  to  the  rhetorical  theory 
framed  to  suit  it.  It  would  be  strange  indeed  if  by  Commencement  Day 
that  year  they  had  not  yet  read  that  already  famous  work.  Only  the 
formulary  rhetorics  appear  not  to  have  been  represented  in  John 
Harvard's  library,  except  in  such  collections  of  phrases  and  proverbs  as 
Grynaeus*  Adagia,  Draxe's  Calliepeia,  and  Lycosthenes'  Apophtheg- 
mata.^Q  But  these  rhetorics,  of  course,  would  not  have  assisted  dispu- 
tants at  a  college  ceremony  to  examine  questions  of  rhetorical  theory. 
They  would  have  provided  models  for  practice,  and  hence  would  have 
been  found  on  a  lower  level  of  education  than  that  occupied  by  the  first 
graduates  of  Harvard. 


1.  For  a  representative  selection  o£  other  accounts  of  English  rhetoric  in  this 
period,  see  the  following:  E.  E.  Hale,  Jr.,  "Ideas  on  Rhetoric  in  the  Sixteenth 
Century,"  PMLA,  XVIII  (1903),  424-444,  R.  C.  Jebb,  "Rhetoric,"  in  The  Encyclo- 
paedia Rrita>nnica,  llth  ed.;  Donald  Lemen  Clark,  Rhetoric  and  Poetry  in  the 
Renaissance  (New  York,  1922);  Charles  Sears  Baldwin,  Medieval  Rhetoric  and 
"Poetic  (to  1400)  (New  York,  1928);  William  Phillips  Sandford,  English  Theories 
of  Public  Address,  1530-1828   (The  Ohio  State  University,   1929);  Lee  Sisson 
Hultzen,  Aristotle's  "Rhetoric'  in  England  to  1600,  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation, 
Cornell  University,  1932;  William  Garrett  Crane,  Wit  and  Rhetoric  in  the  Renais- 
sance (New  York,  1937);  T.  W.  Baldwin,  William  Shakspere's  Small  Latine  & 
Lesse  Greeke  (Urbana,  1944),  II,  1-68;  J.  W.  H.  Atkins,  English  Literary  Criticism: 
The  Renascence  (London,  1947),  pp.  66-101. 

2.  Cicero,  De  Inventione,  1.  7.  9,  trans.  H.  M.  Hubbell  (The  Loeb  Classical 
Library,  Cambridge,  Mass,  and  London,  1949),  pp.  19-21. 

3.  For  indications  of  Cicero's  constant  reference  to  these  five  major  terms,  see 
De  Oratore,  1.  28.  128;  1.  31.  142;  1.  42.  187;  2.  19.  79,  2.  85.  350;  see  also  De 
Partitions  Oratoria,  1.  3,  and  Orator,  14.  43-55. 

4.  Brutus,  6.  25,  trans.  G.  L.  Hendrickson  (The  Loeb  Classical  Library,  Cam- 
bridge, Mass,  and  London,  1939),  pp.  35-37. 

5.  The  Latin  text  and  an  English  translation  of  this  work,  formally  called 
Disputatio  de  Rhetorica  et  de  Virtutibus  Sapientissimi  Regis  Karli  et  Albini  Magistri, 
may  be  found  in  Wilbur  Samuel  Howell,  The  Rhetoric  of  Alcuin  and  Charlemagne 
(Princeton,  1941).  The  Latin  text  is  also  found  in  J.-P.  Migne,  Patrologia  Latina 
(Paris,  1844-1864),  CI,  919-950,  and  in  Carolus  Halm,  Rhetores  Latini  Minores 
(Leipzig,  1863),  pp.  523-550. 

6.  See  Howell,  Rhetoric  of  Alcuin,  pp.  33-61. 

7.  Ibid.,  pp.  22-33.  For  the  text  of  Victor's  Ars  Rhetorica,  see  Halm,  Rhetores 
Latini  Minores,  pp.  371-448. 

8.  J.  W.  H.  Atkins,  English  Literary  Criticism:  The  Medieval  Phase  (New 
York  and  Cambridge,  England,  1943),  p.  59. 


9.  The  text  of  the  Poetria  Nova  is  found  in  Edmond  Faral,  Les  Arts  Poetiques 
du  Xlle  et  du  XIII*  Stick  (Paris,  1924),  pp.  197-262;  see  the  same  work,  pp. 
194-197,  for  an  analysis  of  the  Poetria  Nova,  and  pp.  15-33  for  a  discussion  of 
Geoffrey  of  Vinsaui ;  see  pp.  28-33  for  an  analysis  of  the  question  of  the  date  of  the 
Poetria  Nova,  which  Faral  finally  places  between  1208  and  1213. 

10.  Atkins,  The  Medieval  Phase,  p.  142. 

11.  See  William  Blades,  The  Biography  and  Typography  of  William  Caxton, 
England's  First  Printer  (London  and  Strassburg,  1877),  pp.  216-219;  also  E.  Gor- 
don Duff,  Fifteenth  Century  English  Books  ([Oxford],  1917),  p.  102;  also  Isak 
Colhjn,  Kataloge  der  Inkunabeln  der  Schwedischen  Offentlichen  Bihliotheken  II. 
Katalog  der  Inkunabeln  der  Kgl.   Universitats-Bibliothek  zu  Uppsala   (Uppsala, 
1907),  p.  232,  also  British  Museum  General  Catalogue  of  Printed  Books  s.  v.  "Tra- 
versanus  (Laurentius  Gulielmus) "  My  present  discussion  of  the  Nova  Rhctorica  is 
based  upon  the  Huntington  Library's  microfilm  copy  of  the  St.  Albans  edition  of 

12.  This  sketch  of  Traversagni  is  given  here  because  of  the  difficulty  the  reader 
might  otherwise  have  in  learning  something  of  him.  A  brief  account  of  him  is  found 
in  Blades,  pp.  218-219.  By  far  the  best  accounts,  one  in  Italian  and  the  other  in 
Latin,  are  found  in  Giovanni  Vincenzo  Verzellino,  Delle  Meniorie  Particolari  e 
Specialmente  Degli  Uomini  Illustri  delta  Cittd  di  Savona,  ed.  Andrea  Astengo 
(Savona,  1890),  pp.  400-401,  520-521;  upon  these  I  have  relied  almost  completely. 
See  also  Lucas  Waddmgus,  Scriptores  Ordinis  Minorum,  editio  novissima  (Rome, 
1906),  p.  158. 

13.  Frederic  Ives  Carpenter,  Leonard  Cox  The  Arte  or  Crafte  of  Rhethonjke  A 
Reprint  Edited  with  an  Introduction,  Notes,  and  Glossarial  Index  ( Chicago,  1899 ) , 
p.  25. 

14.  Stephen  Hawes,  The  Pastime  of  Pleasure,  ed.  William  Edward  Mead,  Early 
English  Text  Society  (London,  1928  [for  1927]);  see  especially  pp.  xxix-xxx  for  a 
discussion  of  the  edition  of  1509. 

15.  Ibid ,  p.  56,  line  1357,  According  to  Whitney  Wells,  "Stephen  Hawes  and 
The  Court  of  Sapience''  The  Review  of  English  Studies,  VI  (1930),  284-294,  the 
Court  influenced  Hawes'  The  Example  of  Virtue,  which  in  turn  provided  the  pattern 
for  the  Pastime. 

16.  Pastime,  ed.  Mead,  pp.  30-54  [lines  652-1295]. 

17.  Ibid.,  p.  52  [lines  1247-1253]. 

18.  P.  25.  Carpenter  calls  Caxton's  Mirrour  a  translation  of  the  French  version 
of  the  Speculum  Mundi.  Actually,  the  work  is  a  translation  of  the  Image  du  Monde, 
a  French  encyclopedia  perhaps  best  attributed  to  Gossotiin,  and  probably  completed 
in  January,  1245  (O.S.);  see  Oliver  H.  Prior,  Caocton's  Mirrour  of  the  World,  Early 
English  Text  Society  (London,  1913  [for  1912]),  pp.  vii-xi, 

19.  Caxton  s  Mirrour,  ed.  Prior,  pp.  35-36. 

20.  Cox,  Rhethoryke,  ed.  Carpenter,  p.  41. 

21.  Ibid.,  pp.  41-42. 

22.  Ibid.,  p.  42. 

23.  Ibid.,  p.  42. 

24.  Ibid.,  pp.  81,  87. 

25.  JfetU,p.29. 

26.  Ibid.,  p.  91;  Carpenter  reprints  extracts  from  Melanchthon's  Institutiones 
Rhetoricae  on  pp.  91-102. 

27.  Cicero,  Topica,  1.  1-5;  2.  6-7. 

28.  Cox,  Rhethoryke,  ed.  Carpenter,  p.  43. 

29.  Ibid.,  pp.  43,  87. 

30.  Ibid.,  p.  87. 

31.  Ibid.,  pp.  15-16,  21. 

32.  Russell  H.  Wagner,  "Wilson  and  His  Sources,**  Quarterly  Journal  of  Speech, 
XV  (1929),  530-532. 



33.  The  following  table,  based  upon  Wilsons  Arte  of  Rhetorique  1560,  ed.  G. 
H.  Mair  (Oxford,  1909),  and  upon  Richard  Sherry,  A  Treatise  of  Schemes  and 
Tropes  ( [London],  [1550] ),  indicates  the  chief  points  of  similarity  between  the  two 
works  : 


"audience  of  sheepe" 
"three  maner  of  stiles" 

*  Wilson  illustrates 

p.    166 
p.    169 
p.    170 
pp,  172-173 
pp  174-175 
p.    175 
p.    175 
pp.  175-176 
p.    176 
p.    177 
p.    177 
p.    177 
p.    177 
pp.  180-181 
p.   204 
p.   205 


sig.  C  2  r  ° 
sig.  B  3  r  ° 
sig  B  5  r  ° 
sig.  C4v°-C5r 
sig.  C  5  r  ° 
sig.  C  5  v 
sig.  C5r 
sig.  C  6  v 
sig.  B  5  r  ° 
sig  B  6  r  ° 
sig.  B  6  r  ° 
sig.  B  6  r  ° 
sig.  B  6  r  ° 
sig.  D  5  v  ° 
sig.  D  6  r  ° 

'extenuatio"  with  the  form  used  by  Sherry  to  illustrate 

34.  Wilson,  Rhetorique,  ed.  Mair,  p.  6. 

35.  Ibid.,  p.  23. 

36.  Ibid.,  pp.  86-97. 

37.  Ibid.,  pp.  99-116. 

38.  Ibid.,  pp.  158-160. 

39.  Ibid.,  pp.  162-164. 

40.  Ibid ,  p.  160. 

41.  Ibid.,  p.  162. 

42.  This  list  of  editions  of  Wilson's  Rhetorique  is  based  upon  the  entries  in  the 
Short-Title  Catalogue  s.  v.  "Wilson,  Sir  Thomas." 

43.  For  a  discussion  of  another  occurrence  of  this  epigram  in  the  seventeenth 
century,  see  Wilbur  Samuel  Howell,  "Nathaniel  Carpenter's  Place  in  the  Contro- 
versy between  Dialectic  and  Rhetoric,"  Speech  Monographs,  I  (1934),  20-41. 

44.  William  Pemble,  Enchiridion  Oratorivm  (Oxford,  1633),  p.  2. 

45.  See  Cicero,  Orator,  14.  43-44,  15.  50-53;  17.  54-61. 

46.  For  the  text  of  this  little  work,  see  Halm,  Rhetores  Latini  Minores,  pp.  607- 
618,  also  Migne,  Patrologia  Latina,  XC,  175-186. 

47.  The  evidence  on  this  matter  is  presented  in  M.  L.  W.  Laistner,  A  Hand- 
List  of  Bede  Manuscripts  (Ithaca,  1943),  pp.  131-132. 

48.  See  M.  L.  W.  Laistner,  "The  Library  of  the  Venerable  Bede,"  in  Bede  his 
Life,  Times,  and  Writings,  ed  A.  Hamilton  Thompson  (Oxford,  1935),  p.  241. 

49.  For  Isidore's  De  Grammatica  and  De  Rhetorica,  see  Migne,  Patrologia 
Latina,  LXXXII,  73-124,  123-140;  for  his  De  Rhetorica  alone,  see  Halm,  Rhetores 
Latini  Minores,  pp.  505-522. 

50.  Halm,  p.  xv. 

51.  Laistner,  "The  Library  of  the  Venerable  Bede,"  in  Thompson,  p.  241. 

52.  Bede,  Liber  de  Schematibus  et  Tropis,  ed.  Halm,  p.  607;  translation  by  the 
present  author. 

53.  Laistner,  "The  Library  of  the  Venerable  Bede,"  in  Thompson,  pp.  263-266. 

54.  Atkins,  The  Medieval  Phase,  p.  75. 

55.  An  analysis  of  this  work  and  typical  extracts  from  it  are  found  in  Fatal, 
Les  Arts  Poetiques,  pp.  321-327. 


56.  Atkins,  The  Medieval  Phase,  p.  97. 

57.  The  only  modern  edition  is  by  Spmdlcr,  see  The  Court  of  Sapience,  rd. 
Robert  Spindler,  Beitrage  zur  Englischen  Philologie,  VI  (Leipsiz,  1927).  Its  first 
edition  is  usually  listed  under  the  title  De  Curia  Sapientiae  or  Cuna  Sapientiac, 
although  the  work  is  in  English. 

58.  The  Court  of  Sapience,  ed.  Spindler,  pp,  198-200. 

59.  Ibid  9  p.  199,  line  1911.  Buhler  thinks  these  three  teims  belong  to  punctua- 
tion; he  finds  their  inclusion  as  a  part  of  rhetoric  unusual,  although  he  indicates  that 
the  author  of  the   Court  is  probably  following  Isidore   and   Balbus   in   includ- 
ing them  in  rhetoric.  See  Curt  Ferdinand  Buhler,  "The  Sowees  of  the  Court  ol 
Sapience/'  Beitrage  zur  Englischen  Philologie,  XXIII  (Leipzig,  1932),  75.  Actually, 
however,  these  terms  belong,  not  to  punctuation,  but  to  the  theory  ol  oratorical 
style.  They  may  be  found  in  Cicero,  Orator,  61.  204-206,  62.  211-214;  66.  223-226; 
also  Quintilian,  Institutio  Oratoria,  9.  4.  22-45,  122-130. 

60.  Buhler,  op,  cit,,  p.  75,  shows  that  the  author  of  the  Court  depends  also 
upon  the  Laborintus  of  Evrard  F  All  em  and, 

61.  S^g.Alv°~A2r°. 

62.  Sig.A2r°. 

63.  Sig.A4v°. 

64.  Sig.A5r°. 

65.  Sig.A6v°. 

66.  Sig.Blr0. 

67.  Sig.Blv0. 

68.  Sig.B5r°. 

69.  Sig.B5r°. 

70.  Sig.C4r°-C4v°. 

71.  My  illustration  is  modeled  upon  that  m  Wilson,  Rhctuntjuc,  ed.  Mair,  p. 
177.  For  Sherry's  less  telling  illustration,  see   Treatise  of  Schemes  <!r    Tropes, 
sig.  B5v  °. 

72.  This  illustration  is  from  Sherry,  sig.  C  4  v  °. 

73.  Sig.A5r°. 

74.  Sig.A6r°. 

75.  Sig.A8r°-A8v°. 

76.  The  second  edition  of  Sherry's  work  abandons  his  carhei  distinction  be- 
tween Schemes  and  Tropes  and  substitutes  for  it  the  distinction  between  figures  of 
grammar  and  figures  of  rhetoric,  tropes  being  given  a  place  under  the  latter  head- 
ing. The  second  edition  is  also  a  mixture  of  Latin  and  English;  most  topics  arc 
explained  in  both  languages  in  the  course  of  the  treatise. 

77.  C£.  Sherry  ( 1550),  sig.  F  7  r  °-F  8  v  °,  and  Peacham,  sig.  Q  1  r  °-C3  2  r  °. 

78.  Cf.  Sherry  ( 1555),  foi  XLI  r  °~XLI  v  °,  and  Peacham,  sig.  R  3  v  °. 

79.  See  John  Hoskins,  Directions  for  Speech  and  Style,  ed,  Iloyt  Hopewcll 
Hudson,  Princeton  Studies  in  English,  XII  (Princeton,  1935);  see  especially  pp. 
xiv-xv  for  a  discussion  of  the  date  of  Hoskins*  work,  and  pp.  xxvii-xxxxiii  for  an 
examination  of  the  use  of  the  Directions  by  Jonson,  Blount,  and  Smith, 

80.  Hoskins,  ed.  Hudson,  p.  3;  for  a  full  discussion  of  the  sources  of  the  Direc- 
tions, see  pp.  xxii-xxvii. 

8L    Mair,  pp.  39-63,  66-85,  92-94. 

82.  Sig.Glr0. 

83.  Its  title  and  imprint  are  as  follows:  A  booke  called  the  Foundation  of 
Rhetorike,  because  all  other  partes  of  Rhetoriko  are  grounded  thereupon,  eucry 
parte  sette  forthe  in  an  Oration  upon  questions,  verie  profitable  to  bee  knotocn  and 
redde,  Made  by  Richard  Rainolde  (London,  1563), 

84.  See  Francis  R.  Johnson,  The  Foundation  of  Rhetorike  by  Richard  Rainolde 
with  an  Introduction  (New  York:  Scholars*  Facsimiles  and  Reprints,  1945),  p.  xiv. 

85.  For  sketches  of  these  three  rhetoricians,  sec  Dictionary  of  Greek  and  Roman 
Biography  and  Mythology,  ed.  William  Smith,  s,  v,  "Aphthonlus  of  Antioch/*  "Hcr- 
mogenes  6,"  and  'Theon,  literary  5." 


86.  See  John  Edwin  Sandys,  A  History  of  Classical  Scholarship,  2nd  ed.  ( Cam- 
bridge, England,  1906),  I,  318-319,  381. 

87.  Fol.  1  r  °-l  v  °;  see  also  above,  note  43. 

88.  Fol.  2v°. 

89.  Fol.2v°~3r0. 

90.  Fol.3v°-4r°. 

91.  Fol.  4r°. 

92.  Fol.  4r°. 

93.  Fol.  4v°. 

94.  Fol.  25  r°. 

95.  The  recent  works  specifically  recognizing  the  forgotten   importance  of 
Ramus  are  as  follows:  Hardm  Craig,  The  Enchanted  Glass  (New  York,  1936);  Will- 
iam Garrett  Crane,  Wit  and  Rhetoric  in  the  Renaissance  (New  York,  1937),  Perry 
Miller,  The  New  England  Mind  (New  York,  1939);  Sister  Miriam  Joseph,  Shake- 
speare's Use  of  the  Arts  of  Language  (New  York,  1947),  Rosemond  Tuve,  Eliza- 
bethan and  Metaphysical  Imagery*  (Chicago,  1947);  Donald  Lemen  Clark,  John 
Milton  at  St.  Paul's  School  (New  York,  1948). 

96.  See  the  Dialectiqve  de  Pierre  de  la  Ramee  (Paris,  1555),  pp.  84-85.  Ramus' 
three  laws  are  derived  from  Aristotle's  discussion  of  the  premises  of  demonstration 
in  the  Analytica  Posteriora,  1.4.  For  the  Greek  terms  for  these  laws,  see  below,  p.  57. 

97.  For  a  list  of  the  works  in  which  Ramus  and  his  interpreters  discuss  these 
three  laws,  see  Wilbur  Samuel  Howell,  Fenelons  Dialogues  on  Eloquence  (Prince- 
ton, 1951),  pp.  8-9. 

98.  Roland  Macllmaine,  The  Logike  of  the  moste  Excellent  Philosopher  P. 
Ramus  Martyr  (London,  1574),  pp.  7-8. 

99.  Ibid.,  pp.  11-12. 

100.  See  Talaeus'  prefaces  to  the  first  and  a  later  edition  of  his  Rhetorica  in 
Petri  Rami  Professoris  Regii,  6-  Audomari  Talaei  Collectaneae  Praefationes,  Epis- 
tolae,  Orationes  (Marburg,  1599),  pp.  14-16. 

101.  See  Wilbur  Samuel  Howell,  "Ramus  and  English  Rhetoric:  1574-1681," 
QJS,  XXXVII  (1951 ),  pp.  299-310.  A  complete  account  of  the  English  Ramists,  with 
special  attention  to  Chaderton,  Harvey,  Temple,  John  Milton,  and  many  others,  will 
be  found  in  my  forthcoming  book  on  logic  and  rhetoric  in  the  English  Renaissance. 

102.  Of  the  five  parts  of  Ciceronian  rhetoric,  only  Memory  failed  to  find  a  place 
in  Ramistic  dialectic  or  rhetoric.  Ramus  believed  that  Memory  was  not  an  explicit 
topic  for  either  art  to  deal  with,  but,  as  a  faculty  of  the  mind,  was  assisted  and 
strengthened  by  what  dialectic  had  to  say  about  Arrangement.  See  P.  Rami  Scho- 
larum  Dialecticarum,  seu  Animadversionum  in  Organum  Aristotelis,  libri  xx,  ed. 
Joannes  Piscator  (Frankfurt,  1581),  p.  593.  See  also  P.  Rami  6-  A.  Talaei  Collec- 
taneae Praefationes,  p.  15,  where  Talaeus  expresses  his  view  on  this  subject. 

103.  For  a  recent  edition  of  this  latter  work,  and  a  careful  commentary  upon  it, 
see  The  Arcadian  Rhetorike  by  Abraham  Fraunce,  ed.  Ethel  Seaton  (Oxford:  Pub- 
lished for  the  Luttrell  Society  by  Basil  Blackwell,  1950). 

104.  The  first  edition  bears  the  following  title:  Rameae  Rhetoricae  Libri  Dvo. 
In  vsvm  Scholarvm  (Oxford,  1597);  the  second  edition  (1598)  and  later  ones  were 
entitled  Rhetoricae  Libri  Duo,  Ramus'  name  being  no  longer  included  on  the  title 

105.  See  Charles  Hoole,  A  New  Discovery  Of  the  old  Art  of  Teaching  Schoole, 
ed.  E.  T.  Campagnac  (Liverpool  and  London,  1913),  "The  Masters  Method/'  p. 

106.  For  an  English  translation  of  the  section  on  Memory  in  the  Oratoriae  Libri 
Duo,  see  Lee  Sisson  Hultzen,  "Charles  Butler  on  Memory,"  SM,  VI  (1939),  44-65. 

107.  Oratoriae  Libri  Dvo  ( Oxford,  1629 ) ,  sig.  L  1  r  °.  Translation  by  the  present 

108.  Macllmaine,  p.  9. 

109.  The  titles  of  these  three  translations  are  given  in  full  in  the  present  author's 
"Ramus  and  English  Rhetoric:  1574-1681,"  op.  cit.,  p.  306. 


110.  The  title  page  of  this  work  identifies  the  author  as  "J-  B.  Master  of  the 
free-school  of  Kinfare  in  Staffordshire."  The  dedicatory  epistle  identifies  J.  B.  as 
John  Barton,  as  does  the  epistle  "To  the  Reader." 

111.  Barton,  Art  of  Bhetorick,  p.  1. 

112.  See  Karl  R.  Wallace,  Francis  Bacon  on  Communication  6-  Rhetoric  or:  The 
Art  of  Applying  Reason  to  Imagination  for  the  Better  Moving  of  the  Will  ( Chapel 
Hill,  1943). 

113.  See  R.  W.  Gibson,  Francis  Bacon  A  Bibliography  of  his  Works  and  of 
Baconiana  to  the  year  1750  (Oxford:  At  the  Scrivener  Press,  1950),  pp.  xiv-xv; 
72-73,  108-109,  118-124. 

114.  The  Works  of  Francis  Bacon,  ed.  James  Spedding,  Robert  Leslie  Ellis,  and 
Douglas  Denon  Heath  (Boston,  1860-1864),  VI,  117,  hereafter  cited  as  Works. 

115.  Works,  VI,  118. 

116.  Ibid,  VI,  118. 

117.  Ibid.,  VI,  119. 

118.  Ibid.,  VI,  119. 

119.  Ibid.,  VI,  119.  For  an  illustration  of  Ascham's  criticism  of  Ramus,  sec  Roger 
Ascham,  The  Scholemaster,  ed.  John  E.  B.  Mayor  (London,  1863),  pp.  101-102. 
For  Ramus*  tribute  to  Sturm,  see  P.  Kami  6-  A.  Talaei  Collectaneae  Ptaefationes, 
Epistolae,  Orationes,  p.  67. 

120.  Works,  VI,  120. 

121.  Ibid.,  VI,  215. 

122.  Ibid.,  VI,  260-261. 

123.  Ibid.,  VI,  282. 

124.  Ibid.,  VI,  169 

125.  Ibid.,  VI,  285,  288,  297. 

126.  Ibid.,  VI,  261,  268-269. 

127.  In  the  English  version  of  the  Advancement  of  Learning,  Bacon's  terms  for 
these  two  aids  are  "Preparation"  and  "Suggestion."  In  the  Latin  version,  the  terms 
are  "Promptuana"  and  "Topica."  Cf.  Works,  II,  386,  and  VI,  269, 

128.  Works,  VI,  269-270. 

129.  Ibid.,  VI,  270-272. 

130.  Ibid.,  VI,  281-282. 

131.  Ibid.,  VI,  296. 

132.  Ibid.,  VI,  297, 

133.  Ibid.,  VI,  297. 

134.  Ibid.,  VI,  299. 

135.  Ibid.,  VI,  299. 

136.  Ibid.,  VI,  298,  Bacon  says:  "And  therefore  as  Plato  said  elegantly,  That 
virtue,  if  she  could  be  seen3  would  move  great  love  and  affection"  This  quotation 
is  from  Phaedrus,  250.  See  Lane  Cooper,  Plato  Phaedrus,  Ion,  Gorgia$»  and  %w~ 
posium,  with  passages  from  the  Republic  and  Laws  ( London,  New  York,  Toronto, 
1938),  p.  34.  Cooper  translates  the  passage  thus:  "O  what  amazing  love  would 
Wisdom  cause  in  us  if  she  sent  forth  an  image  of  herself  that  entered  the  sight,  us 
the  image  of  Beauty  does." 

137.  Cf.  Works,  VI,  300,  and  Phaedrus,  271-272,  277;  for  a  translation  of  the 
Platonic  passages,  see  Cooper,  pp.  61,  68. 

138.  Works,  VI,  300. 

139.  For  a  discussion  of  this  matter,  see  the  present  author's  F$nelon*$  Dialogues 
on  Eloquence,  pp.  14-16.  For  Ramus'  discussion  of  Method,  see  Dialeetiqve  ( 1555), 
pp.  120-135. 

140.  Works,  VI,  288. 

141.  Ibid.,  VI,  289. 

142.  Ibid.,  VI,  289. 

143.  Ibid.,  VI,  294;  IX,  128,  122;  II,  434,  427-428. 

144.  Ibid.,  VI,  300. 

145.  Ibid.,  VI,  302-303. 


146.  Ibid.,  VI,  131. 

147.  Thomas  Sprat,   The  History  of  the  Royal-Society  of  London   (London, 
1667),  pp.  112,  113. 

148.  This  work  was  first  translated  into  English  under  the  title,  Logic;  Or,  The 
Art  of  Thinking  (London,  1685). 

149.  For  a  full  account  of  this  historic  ceremony,  see  Samuel  Eliot  Morison,  The 
Founding  of  Harvard  College  (Cambridge,  Mass.,  1935),  pp.  257-262. 

150.  Morison,  p.  439.  For  a  thorough  discussion  of  the  influence  of  Ramus  at 
Harvard  during  the  seventeenth  century,  see  Miller,  The  New  England  Mind,  pp. 
115-156,  312-330,  493-501. 

151.  See  Alfred  C.  Potter,  "Catalogue  of  John  Harvard's  Library/'  Publications 
of  the  Colonial  Society  of  Massachusetts,  XXI  (1919),  219-220. 

152    Ibid,  p.  224! 

153.  Ibid.,  p.  225.  According  to  Potter,  John  Harvard's  library  contained  Cicero's 
Operum  Omnium  tomus  1-3  (Basel,  1528),  but  I  do  not  know  the  precise  contents 
of  that  particular  edition. 

154.  Ibid.,  pp.  192,  208. 

155.  Ibid.,  p.  198. 

156.  Ibid.,  pp.  199,  202,  213. 

Rhetorical  Theory  in  Colonial  America 


Basic  to  the  later  development  of  speech  education  in  America  was 
the  foundation  on  which  that  development  was  built—  the  rhetorical 
theory  studied  and  taught  in  the  colonies.  We  will  examine  briefly  the 
pattern  and  growth  of  that  rhetorical  theory. 

The  Rhetoric  of  Style 

During  the  first  century  of  American  colonization  the  educational 
doctrine  and  some  of  the  writings  of  Peter  Ramus  a  seemed  almost  to 

O  s|C^fc^fi««f!Y',1(*;''fVw^'r'«''*V'-.j4 

dominate  the  thinking  of  the  colonists.  Ramcan  works  on  grammar  and 
dialectic  were  included  in  John  Harvard's  bequest  to  the  colonies*  first 
college.  Leonard  Hoar,  writing  to  his  nephew,  Josiah  Flynt,  a  freshman 
at  Harvard,  in  1661,  refers  to  the  "Incomparable  P.  Ramus,"  and  further 
adds  that  Josiah  should  "make  use  of  the  grand  Mr.  Ramus  in  Grammar*, 
Rhetorique,  Logick."  2  Cotton  Mather  reported  that  in  Harvard  "the 
Ramean  discipline  be  ...  preferred  unto  the  Aristotelian."3  In  1698 
thirteen  copies  of  "Rami  Logica*  were  imported  into  Boston.4  The  1723 
catalogue  of  the  Harvard  Library  lists  his  Scholia  in  3  primas  liberates 

Although  Ramus  wrote  no  formal  rhetoric  as  a  separate  treatise,  cer- 
tain concepts  are  clear  in  his  writings.  His  feeling  was 

since  it  was  concerned  only 
with  ornamenting  those  ideas^^^^Ttlgic,  and  already  expressed 
correctly  with  the  aid  of  grammar.  Much  of  what  was  formerly  rhetor- 
ical doctrine  in  the  classical  conception  was  thus  imported  into  logic  or 
dialectic.  Especially  was  this  true  of  invention  and  arrangement. 
Rhetoric  was  left  only  with  style  and  delivery  as  Ramean  logic  became  to 
a  considerable  extent  a  "rhetorical  logic**;  although  it  retained  the 
typical  syllogistic  doctrine,  it  added  much  of  the  material  and  point  of 
view  of  classical  inventio. 

Thus,  the  period  of  Ramean  rhetoric  in  America,  continuing  until 




c.  1730,  was  a  period  of  rhetorical  decadence,  far  from  the  active  ele- 
ments of  the  art  which  the  ancients  had  considered  the  very  heart  of 
rhetorical  doctrine. 
The  following  will  indicate  the  general  scheme  of  Ramus'  rhetoric:  5 

simple  • 



•  metonymy 







C  exclamation 

I  apostrophe 

(  deliberation 
I  occupation 

I  permission 
I  concession 


body,  head,  eyes 
arms,  hands,  fingers 
FIG.  1. 

Since  Ramus  himself  wrote  no  rhetoric,  it  was  from  a  number  of 
works  in  the  Ramean  tradition  that  his  doctrine  was  circulated  in  the 
colonies.  Perhaps  the  most  "official"  one— it  was  highly  praised  by 
Ramus  in  its  preface— was  the  text  written  by  Omer  Talon.  His  Jfeb, 
t^nca^  was  one  of  the  works  used  for  the  IT^^E^OT" rhetoric  at 
Harvard  College,  and  the  book  had  considerable  circulation  in  the 
colonies.  John  Harvard's  bequest  contained  a  copy,7  and  another  was 


in  the  library  of  Increase  Mather.8  A  copy  which  is  bound  together  with 
Ramus's  Dialectics  and  Greek  Grammar  to  make  one  volume  is  inscribed 
by  Dudley  Bradstreet  with  the  date  1694. 9  Bradstreet  was  graduated  by 
Harvard  in  1698.  ( One  recalls  the  reference  of  Mr.  Hoar  to  the  ""grand 
Mr.  Ramus  ...  in  Rhetorique.")  Further,  Alexander  Richardson's  Logi- 
cian's Schoolmaster,  containing  much  of  Talaeus'  rhetoric,  is  known  to 
have  been  in  the  colonies  as  early  as  1635.10 

Talaeus7  rhetoric  presents  a  truncated  pattern  of  rhetorical  theory  at 
best.  Ramus'  definition,  "Rhetorica  est  ars  bene  dicendi,"  is  followed, 
as  is  his  belief  that  only  style  and  delivery  should  be  discussed.  Further, 
Talaeus  follows  Ramus  in  feeling  that  all  figures  of  thought  should  be 
treated  in  logical  works.  Thus  there  is  left  to  rhetoric  only  some  twenty- 
five  tropes  and  figures.  Sixty  pages  treat  of  these— the  rest  of  the  work 
includes  generalized  comment  on  voice  and  gesture.  Apparently  this 
very  brevity  and  narrowness  of  outlook  was  an  advantage.  Certainly 
the  work  had  long  and  influential  use  in  the  colonies. 

Nonetheless,  the  most  popular  presentation  of  the  Ramean  doctrines 
seems  to  have  been  that  of  William  Du^^.^1  His  book  was  a  digest  of 
Talaeus,  and  thus  a  third-hand  RamuSTbut  it  was  extremely  popular  in 
the  colonies.  Probably  it  was  a  school  text  as  early  as  1690,1-  and  impor- 
tations by  colonial  booksellers  were  constant.  Fifteen  copies  were  im- 
ported by  Robert  Boulter  in  1682;  ten  more  by  others  in  the  following 
year.13  Known  to  be  a  grammar  school  text  in  1712, 14  it  was  listed  in  the 
Harvard  course  of  study  in  1726, ir>  and  it  may  still  have  had  some  use 
as  late  as  1764,  since  it  was  then  one  of  the  books  claimed  by  students 
after  a  fire  at  Harvard  College  in  that  year.10 

It  would  seem,  therefore,  that  Dugard's  work  was  a  standard  gram- 
mar school  textbook  during  the  early  eighteenth  century,  and  that  it  had 
fairly  extensive  use  in  the  colleges  as  well.  Perhaps  its  popularity  in  the 
schools  may  be  some  explanation  of  its  scarcity  in  private  libraries,  since 
textbooks  seem  to  have  been  valued  as  little  for  permanent  possession 
then  as  now. 

^^^on^i^^^n^i  was  first  issued  in  1650  when  Dugard  was  head- 
master of  Merchant  Taylors  school.  It  follows  in  all  respects  the  Ramean 
principles,  treating  the  figures  of  speech  in  some  thirty  pages,  and  then 
devoting  four  to  delivery.17  The  text  of  Dugard  is  in  catechetical  form, 
and,  as  the  title  advertises,  is  so  arranged  that  if  the  questions  are 
omitted  the  answers  will  give  a  complete  foundation  in  rhetoric  for 
beginners.  A  notation  from  the  opening  will  give  some  picture  of  the 
method  and  scope  of  the  book: 18 

Quaest.  1.    Quid  est  Rhetorica? 

Rhetorica  est  ars  ornate  dicendi. 


2.    Quot  sunt  paries  Rhetorices? 
Partes  Rhetorices  Elocutio,  & 

duae  sunt:  Pronuntiatio 

Following  the  definitions  there  is  a  list  of  the  Ramean  figures  of 
speech,  each  illustrated  from  Latin  literature.  Brief  as  this  treatment  of 
style  is,  it  is  detailed  in  contrast  with  the  very  brief  and  perfunctory 
treatment  of  delivery  which  follows.  The  discussion  of  delivery  gives 
only  a  few  suggestions  concerning  the  proper  "Voice"  for  the  various 
parts  of  an  oration,  and  some  general  advice  on  the  movement  of  the 
whole  body  and  its  parts. 

Thus  the  book  features  concise  definitions  of  the  standard  Ramean 
tropes  and  figures,  with  a  minimum  of  illustrative  material.  While  its 
contribution  to  the  development  of  rhetorical  theory  must  be  adjudged 
slight,  it  was  compact  and  doubtless  useful  to  both  grammar  school  and 
college  students.  At  any  rate,  it  represents  the  rhetorical  doctrine  taught 
the  colonists  before  1730  in  its  most  popular  form. 

Perhaps  thgstrongestc<^^ 
in  the  early 

plp&SfJCiGEhttd  Johaon  Vossius'  own  rhetoric,^Tiad  some 

circulation  in  the  colonies.  Listed  as  in  the  Harvard  Library  in  1724,  it 
was  starred  as  especially  useful  for  upperclassmen  in  Yale  in  1743. 20 

Vossius^rhetoric  treated  of  an  art  much  more  closely  allied  to  classi- 
cal concepts  than  did  tha  .rhetoric  of  R,amus— a  much  fuller  art  than 
Ramus  was  willing  to  concede.  Although  Vossius,  too,  treats  mostly  of 
trope  and  figure,  there  is  a  fairly  adequate  discussion  of  invention,  dis- 
position, and  pronunciation  as  well. 

Actually,  V^ius^  views, .wex^jnjost  popularly  presented  to  the  colo- 
nies through  the  works  of  ThomasB^^^^1  References  to  the  Index 
are  numerous,22  and  all  seem  to  indicate  that  Farnaby,  with  Dugard, 
was  one  of  the  most  popular  of  the  rhetoricians  influencing  early  Ameri- 
can rhetorical  thought. 

Farnaby's  writings  reflect  his  association  with  Vossius,  and  they  may 
have  been  influenced  by  the  Jesuit  teaching  in  the  classical  tradition 
which  he  had  experienced  as  well.  His  definition  of  rhetoric  is  not  "ars 
ornate  dicendi,"  but  "f  acultas  de  unaquaque  re  dicendi  bene,  &  ad  per- 
suadenum  accomodate."  23 

The  organization  of  Farnaby's  book  also  tends  toward  the  classical 
tradition.  In  schematic  form,  relying  largely  on  bracketed  tables, 
Farnaby  treats  of  invention,  disposition,  elocution,  and  pronunciation, 
thus  at  least  mentioning  all  of  the  orthodox  points  of  classical  rhetoric 
except  memoria.  But  when  one  considers  that  he  treats  invention  in  ten 
pages  and  disposition  in  nine,  it  can  be  seen  that  the  discussions  are 


relatively  brief  compared  with  the  emphasis  given  to  these  same  mat- 
ters in  classical  rhetoric.  The  treatment  of  elocution  or  style  is  more 
detailed,  the  qualities  of  language  being  treated,  as  well  as  the  move- 
ment of  sentences,  periods,  and  rhythms,  and  all  of  the  Ramean  tropes 
and  figures. 

The  second  part  of  the  work  is  a  handbook  of  composition  with  brief 
advice  and  specimen  phrases  and  forms  to  use  in  the  various  parts  of  a 
theme.  Also  are  included  heads  for  a  commonplace  book  in  which  quo- 
tations may  be  filed  for  use  in  writing  and  speaking— four  pages  of 
topics  running  from  "Abstinentia,  Abusus,"  to  "Vultus,  Uxer." 

There  is  frequent  reference  to  classical  sources,  and  on  the  whole  the 
book  seems  vastly  superior  to  Dugard's  digest21  It  balances  the  divi- 
sions of  rhetoric  well  enough  that  it  would  seem  to  offer,  in  the  hands 
of  a  capable  tutor  or  scholar,  a  chance  for  a  rhetoric  filled  with  some  of 
its  old-time  vitality.  Its  use  in  the  colonies  would  seem  to  indicate, 
however,  that  it  was  applied  much  as  was  Dugard.25  One  finds  little 
evidence  to  show  that  the  sketchy  treatments  of  invention  and  arrange- 
ment influenced  practice  in  any  substantial  way.  Perhaps  the  most  that 
can  be  said  is  that  it  served  as  a  reminder  of  the  full  tradition  of  rhetoric 
during  a  time  when  the  Ramean  concept  was  the  more  popular.26 

A  number  of  other  rhetorical  works  were  available  to  the  colonists, 
of  course.  They  range  from  collections  of  commonplaces  or  formulae 
for  the  writing  of  themes  or  orations,  to  reference  books,27  and  their 
influence  is  difficult  to  assess. 

One  type  of  the  rhetoric  of  trope  and  figure,  the  so-called  "rhetorics 
of  the  scriptures,"  should  be  noted.  Largely  in  the  Ramean  tradition  as 
to  content,  this  class  of  rhetorics  illustrated  the  traditional  list  of  figures 
with  quotations  from  the  Bible,  The  most  popular  of  this  group  seems 
to  have  been  the  work  of  John  Smith.28  Available  in  America  as  early 
as  1683,  the  work  is  frequently  referred  to  in  early  colonial  writings,  and 
was  highly  recommended  by  Samuel  Johnson  as  late  as  the  middle  of 
the  eighteenth  century.20  Some  idea  of  the  philosophy  of  the  book  may 
be  gained  from  the  introduction: 

[Rhetoric]  hath  two  parts,  viz. 

1.  Garnishing  of  Speech,  called  Elocution, 

2.  Garnishing  of  the  manner  of  utterance,  called  Pronunciation  (which  this 
treatise  is  not  principally  aimed  at) . 

Elocution,  or  the  garnishing  of  speech,  is  the  first  and  principal  part  of 
Rhetorique,  whereby  the  speech  itself  is  beautified  and  made  fine:  And  this 
is  either 

The  fine  manner  of  words  called  a  Trope:  or 

The  fine  shape  or  frame  of  speech,  called  a  Figure*30 


One  of  the  earliest  inquiries  into  the  scientific  nature  of  speech  was 
also  in  the  coloniesj^m^^olittcifi  receiving  from  the  Royal  Society  of 
London  in  1670  a  copy  of  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^S^'31  The 
book  was  a  forerunner  0£^^^^^^^r  works  jn  phonetics,  for  it 
makes  a  strong  attempt  to  popularize  a  phonetic  alphabet,  suggesting 
that  the  use  of  a  universal  sound  alphabet  would  simplify  all  teaching, 
and  that  such  an  alphabet  is  absolutely  necessary  in  training  the  deaf 
to  speak. 

The  material  is  interesting,  and  undoubtedly  significant  for  the  his- 
torian in  voice  science,  but  the  single  copy  found  in  the  preparation  of 
this  study  would  not  seem  to  indicate  important  influence  in  the 

Outstanding  is  the  almost  complete  lack  of  the  classical  influence  in 
early  rhetorical  teaching  in  America.  Although  most  of  the  evidence  is 
negative,  it  seems  clear  that  Aristotle,  Cicero,  and  Quintilian  exerted 
little  influence  on  the  beginnings  of  American  rhetorical  theory;  simi- 
larly; Cox  32  and  Wilson,  ss  frequently  hailed  by  students  of  English 
rhetorical  theory,  seem  to  have  had  no  direct  influence  on  the  colonies. 
No  record  has  been  found  in  any  library,  public  or  private,  which  would 
indicate  that  either  of  these  two  works  was  in  the  colonies  before  1730. 

The  Classical  Tradition 

Despite  this  domination  by  Ramean  rhetoric  during  the  earliest 
period  in  American  history,  Js^l^ 

aJaJWU^^  tja^^  ^TJjT 

Speaito^  represented  almost  a 

complete  departure  from  Ramean  concepts.  First  known  to  be  in  the 
colonies  in  1716,  35  the  Art  of  Speaking  exerted  vital  influence  in  the 
development  of  American  rhetorical  theory. 

The  1696  edition  is  actually  two  books  bound  into  one—  an  Art  of 
Speaking  and  an  Art  of  Persuasion. 

The  "4rt  Q£  SpeaMng"  opens  with  a  discussion  of  the  formation  of 
the  organs  of  speech.  Then,  following  chapters  on  grammar  and  vocabu- 
lary, there  is  detailed  consideration  of  trope  and  figure.  Although  this 
would  seem  to  be  a  consideration  of  those  same  aspects  of  rhetoric 
which  engrossed  the  Ramean  school,  the  emphasis  is  cle^ly  on  a  new 
concept:  although  one's  &tyl^stald  b&J«aaaeiy^ 
end  qf  style.  Rather,  style  is  always  subservient  to-tb^eadof&e.spMciL. 

Th^second  book  of  th^^ 

the  empSsi^^  section.  Dividing  the  art  into  five 

parts,  "Invention  of  the  proper  Means,  Disposition  of  these  means, 
Elocution,  Memory  and  Pronunciation,36  the  work  shows  a  clear  empha- 


sis  on  rhetoric  as  an  active  art,  concerned  with  the  moving  and  influenc- 
ing of  men. 

The  general  treatment  is  Ciceronian  and  the  entire  work  is  a  keystone 
in  the  bridge  between  the  truncated  rhetoric  earlier  prevalent  in  the 
colonies  and  the  full  classical  approach  which  was  soon  to  become 
dominant.  Interestingly  enough,  the  work  also  offers  a  foretaste  of  the 
coming  emphasis  in  American  education  on  "belles  lettres."  Specialized 
discussions  of  the  style  of  the  historian  and  of  the  poet  are  provided. 
Within  a  few  years  belles  lettres  emerges  as  a  separate  discipline— and 
eventually  leads  to  the  creation  of  departments  of  English  Language 
and  Literature  in  American  colleges  and  universities. 

Along  with  the  growing  interest  in  the  more  complete  rhetoric  rep- 
resented by  the  Art  of  Speaking,  there  were  increasing  signs  of  the  use 
of  the  classical  rhetorics,  especially  Cicero,  in  the  colonies.  Although 
Aristotle's  works  are  infrequently  mentioned,  Cicero's  De  Oratorc 
became  one  of  the  most  popular  works  on  speech  in  mid-eighteenth 
century  America.  In  the  Yale  library  "6  dupl"  copies  were  available  in 
1743;  the  charging  lists  of  the  Harvard  library  from  1762  to  1770  show 
its  use  with  constant  regularity.  Quintilian  also  was  in  wide  circulation. 
A  part  of  the  University  of  Pennsylvania  course  of  study  in  1756,37  it 
was  in  the  curriculum  of  Washington  College  in  Maryland  in  1783. :1H 

In  addition  to  this  growing  interest  in  the  classical  authors,  a  num- 
ber of  English  works  in  the  classical  tradition  were  imported  into  the 
colonies  after  1730.  Since  most  of  these  works  have  been  discussed  in 
other  studies,39  only  brief  comment  seems  required  here.  Suffice  it  to 
say  that  eyery  important  rhetoric  published  in  England  during  the 
eighteenth  century  found  its  way  into  one  or  more  of  the  large  Ameri- 
can libraries. 

One  of  these  English  rhetorics,  however,  merits  special  attention, 
It^sJcJbnJ^  Called  the  "most  complete 

stat«-^^  English  tongue,"  4l  Ward's 

System  exerted  wide  influence  in  America.  Dominant  in  the  college  field 
until  1780,  "if "was  in  general  circulation  as  well  Only  the  works  of 
Campbell  and  Blair  were  to  destroy  its  influence. 

Much  has  been  written  about  Ward's  rhetorical  theory  and  its  influ- 
ence on  American  speech  education,42  and  an  especially  helpful  discus- 
sion by  Douglas  Ehninger  summarizes  this  material  as  follows; 

The  work  clearly  has  historical  importance,  and  in  a  very  real  fashion  con- 
tributed to  the  development  of  modern  rhetorical  theory.  For,  though  later 
writers  may  have  departed  from  classicism,  unless  the  full  scope  of  the  classi- 
cal rhetoric*  had  been  firmly  established  they  hardly  could  have  advanced 
beyond  it.  It  was  Ward's  ultimate  contribution— and  one  for  which  he  was 
eminently  fitted— to  sweep  away  once  and  for  all  the  last  vestiges  of  the 


imean  apostasy,  and  thus  help  pave  the  way  for  the  great  creative  rhetorics 
the  eighteenth  century.43 

Rhetoric  and  Belles  Lettres 

Along  with  the  growth  of  the  classical  tradition  in  America  was  a 
rresponding  increase  in  interest  in  the  new  rhetorics  of  style  which 
sre  being  sent  to  the  colonies.  Such  works  as  Anthony  Blackwell's 
troduction  to  the  Classics,  first  published  in  London  in  171S,44  and 
pied  almost  without  change  by  Robert  Dodsley  for  The  Preceptor,45 
sre  popular  in  America  very  soon  after  publication.  The  Preceptor, 
r  example,  was  read  by  Samuel  Johnson  in  1749,46  and  was  later  used 
both  Pennsylvania  and  Harvard.47  Some  editions  contained  only  the 
ackwell  material  on  style;  others  reprinted  John  Mason's  Essay  on 
'ocution,  giving  that  work  wide  circulation  in  America. 
Other  contemporary  rhetorics  of  style  known  to  have  been  circulated 
America  include  John  Stirling's  A  System  of  Rhetoric,  probably  first 
iblished  in  London  in  1733,  and  Thomas  Gibbon's  Rhetoric;  or  a  view 
its  principal  Tropes  and  Figures  ( London,  1767 ) . 
Of  ^greatest'  importance,  in  terms  of  later  trends  in  rhetorical  theory, 
>wever,  is  tl^e  work  on  taste  and  composition  written  by  Henry  Home, 
»d  Kames.  Within  a  few  months  after  publication  the  three  volumes 
mprising  The  Elements  of  Criticism48  were  shipped  to  Harvard 
allege,49  and  copies  were  soon  found  all  through  the  colonies. 
The  book  i^.gn^effort  to  investigate  systematically,  the  metaphysical 
ixK^pte^^tiheJ|ne  arts.  Home  discards  the  accepted  authoritarian 
les  for  literary  composition,  and  builds  instead  new  rules  based  on 
iman  nature.  Thus  it  is  a  philosophical  treatment  of  taste  and  criticism 
ther  than  a  rhetoric  in  the  sense  that  that  term  has  been  used  in  this 
scussion,  but  it  presages  an  era  to  follow.50  In  only  a  few  years  rheto- 
3  and  belles  lettres  were  to  be  decisively  linked  by  Hugh  Blair,  and 
letoricians  to  become  steadily  less  interested  in  oratory  and  public 
Idress  and  more  concerned  with  "English  Language  and  Literature." 

The  Elocution  Movement 

Still  a  third  major  development  in  rhetorical  theory  as  it  affected 
merica  was  taking  place  during  the  latter  half  of  the  eighteenth  cen- 
ry— th^grev^^^^^^l^^S^^ov^^^^  Beginning  in  England, 
here  cri&SSm^  had  become  espec- 

ally  severe  by  1750,  special  training  in  "elocution/7  or  delivery,  was 
on  widely  popular  both  in  England  and  the  United  States.  John 
ason,  mentioned  above,  seems  to  have  been  the  first  writer  to  justify 


the  use  of  the  term  elocution  to  describe  delivery.  He  offers  no  explana- 
tion for  the  growth  of  the  "vulgar"  use  of  elocution  as  applied  to 
delivery  rather  than  style,  although  a  footnote  to  his  work  explains  his 

From  almost  the  beginning  the  elocutionists  were  divided  into  two 
schools-the  and  the  52  The  naturalists 

believed  that^^LC*principles  of  effective  Selivery  came  from  nature 
herself,  and  so  their  system  of  elocution  was  based  on  large  precepts 
and  on  the  speaker  s  understanding  of  the  thoughts  read  or  spoken.  In 
contrast,  the  mechanists,  while  they  too  wanted  the  "natural"  orator, 
felt  that  true  naturalness  could  only  come  from  a  study  of  the  rules 
implicit  within  nature.  Thus  they  offered  elaborate  systems  for  acquir- 
ing naturalness. 

Almost  every  elocution  book  written  and  published  in  England 
seems  to  have  circulated  in  America,  and  in  terms  of  library  requests 
in  the  colleges,  many  were  more  widely  read  than  the  more  complete 
rhetorics  we  have  mentioned.  Soon  the  largest  number  of  rhetorical 
works  written  by  Americans  were  to  be  on  elocution.53 

Beginnings  of  American  Rhetoric 

Clearly,  Aedo^^airt  influence  jji  the  development  of  American 


American  rhetoric  was  slow—  its  fruits  came  some  years  after  the  period 

covered  in  this  essay.  Nonetheless,  even  during  the  colonial  and  revolu- 
tionary years,  some  contribution  to  the  theory  of  rhetorical  prose  was 
made  in  America. 

Just  as  in  England,  where  many  encyclopedic  works  were  written 
during  the  eighteenth  century,  in  the  colonies  similar  volumes  were 
published.  It  is  difficult  to  determine  the  first  editions  of  many  of  these 
works,  but  The  Young  Secretary's  Guide  was  in  its  sixth  edition  by  1727, 
and  The  American  Instructor,  or  Young  Man's  Best  Companion  had  a 
ninth  edition  published  in  Philadelphia  in  1748.  This  work  defined 
rhetoric  as  "the  Art  of  Speaking  in  the  most  elegant  and  persuasive 
manner;  or  as  my  Lord  Bacon  defines  it,  the  Art  of  applying  and 
addressing  the  Dictates  of  Reason  to  the  Fancy,  and  of  recommending 
them  there  so  as  to  attract  the  Will  and  Desires."  5* 

Actually,  the  |irst  complete  American  rhetoric  was  that  of  John 
giiti^^^^5  Although  Witherspoon  was  educated  in  Scotland,  and 
contemporary  Scottish  influences  are  apparent  in  his  writing,  the^^J^gc- 
to«^  constitute  a  genuine  American  rhetoric.  Based  primarily  on  classi- 
cal rhetoric,  Witherspoon  interpreted  these  princij5leH»  <&M»IighLof  the 
p3aflf>s6p1Ky  of  Ms  6wu  time. 


Wilson  Paul  summarizes  Witherspoon's  contribution  to  the  develop- 
ment of  speech  education  in  America: 

John  Witherspoon  holds  a  key  position  in  the  transition  from  the  colonial 
oratory  of  the  clergymen,  to  the  American  oratory  of  the  statesman.  His  lectures 
led  the  way  for  the  introduction  into  America  of  the  British  eighteenth  cen- 
tury school  of  rhetoric  furthered  by  John  Quincy  Adams.  In  a  nation  torn  by 
war  and  internal  confusion,  he  carried  the  banner  of  theoretical  enlighten- 
ment and  practical  improvement  of  public  speaking.56 

Despite  its  nineteenth-century  dominance  in  American  speech  edu- 
cation, no  substantial  contribution  to  elocutionary  theory  was  made  in 
America  prior  to  1785.  In  that  year  Noah  Webster  published  the  third 
section  of  his  Grammatical  Institute  of  the  English  Language,57  but  its 
material  on  theory  was  taken  largely  from  Burgh  and  is  only  some  ten 
pages  of  the  two  hundred  included  in  the  volume.  Actually,  Webster's 
only  plea  for  this  study  in  preference  to  the  Art  of  Speaking,  The  Pre- 
ceptor, or  Scott's  Lessons,  is  that  it  is  an  American  work.58 

Rhetorical  theory  in  colonial  America  was  rhetorical  theory  in  transi- 
tion. Ramean  in  the  earliest  years,  American  rhetoric  felt  the  growth  of 
the  classical  tradition  bringing  with  it  renewed  interest  in  the  classics 
themselves,  and  new  interest  in  the  contemporary  writings  of  English 
rhetoricians.  Increased  interest  in  taste  and  criticism  during  the  period 
reflected  English  thinking  in  most  respects,  and  in  America,  as  in  Eng- 
land, the  elocution  movement  was  well  established  by  1785.  Although 
few  contributions  of,  an  original  sort  have  come  from  colonial  America, 
the  foundation  is  laid  for  the  productive  and  creative  era  ahead. 


1.  Pierre  de  la  Ramee,  also  known  by  the  Latinized  Petrus  Ramus  ( 1515-1572 ) . 
One  of  the  most  helpful  biographies  is  that  by  Frank  P.  Graves,  Peter  "Ramus  and 
the  Educational  Reformation  of  the  Sixteenth  Century  (New  York,  1912). 

2.  Quoted  in  Perry  Miller  and  T.  H.  Johnson,  The  Puritans  (New  York,  1938), 
pp.  709-710. 

3.  Cotton  Mather,  Magnolia  Christi  Americana  (Hartford,  1853),  II,  p.  21. 

4.  W.  C.  Ford,  The  Boston  Book  Market,  1679-1700  (Boston,  1917),  p.  131. 

5.  Graves,  op.  cit.,  p.  138. 

6.  Audemari  Talaei,  Rhetorica,  e,  P.  Rami  Regii  Professoris  Praelectionibus 
Observata  (Antwerp,  1582). 

7.  Harvard  College  Records  (MSS),  I,  p.  261. 

8.  Julius  H.  Turtle,  "The  Libraries  of  the  Mathers,"  American  Antiquarian 
Society,  New  Series,  XX,  p.  288. 

9.  Arthur  O.  Norton,  "Harvard  Text  Books  and  Reference  Books  of  the  17th 
Century,"  Publications  of  the  Colonial  Society  of  Massachusetts,  XXVIII  (1930- 
1933),  424. 

10.  C.  F.  and  R.  Robinson,  "Three  Early  Massachusetts  Libraries/*  Publ.  Col 
Soc.  Mass.,  XXVIII  (1930-1933),  133. 

11.  William  Dugard  ( 1606-1662).  Rhetorics  Elementa  was  first  issued  in  1650^ 
by  1673  it  had  passed  through  seven  editions. 


12.  Norton,  op.  cit.9  p.  366. 

13.  Ford,  op.  cit.,  pp.  126-150. 

14.  R.  F.  Seybolt,  Public  Schools  of  Colonial  Boston  (Cambridge,  1935),  p.  71. 

15.  Benjamin  Wadsioorth's  Book  Relating  to  College  Affairs  (MS),  p.  28.  Re- 
port of  tutors  Flynt  and  Welstead. 

16.  R.  F.  Seybolt,  "Student  Libraries  at  Harvard,  1763-64,"  Publ  Col  Soc. 
Mass.,  XXVIII  (1930-1933),  454. 

17.  William   Dugard,   Rhetorices  Elementa   Quaestionibus  et   Responsionibus 
Explicata,  Editio  Tricesirna  ( Londini,  1705 ) . 

18.  Dugard,  op.  cit.,  p.  1. 

19.  Ger.  Jo.  Vossii,  Elementa  Rhetorica  Oratoriis  Ejusdem  Partitionibus  Acco- 
modata,  Inque  Usum  Scholarum  Hollandiae  &  Westfrisial  Emendatus  Edita  (Lon- 
dini, 1739)  is  the  edition  now  in  the  Harvard  Library. 

20.  A  Catalogue  of  the  Library  of  Yale  College  in  New-Haven  (New  London, 

21.  Thomas  Farnaby  (1575P-1647).  By  1639,  famous  as  a  schoolmaster  and 
classical  scholar,  he  was  in  repeated  correspondence  with  Vossius.  Index  Rhetoricus 
was  first  issued  in  1625,  and  was  revised  to  the  Index  Rhetoricus  et  Oratoribus  in 
1646.  The  following  notes  are  from  the  London  edition  of  1654. 

22.  Listed  for  sale  by  Robert  Chisholm  in  Boston  in  1680,  other  specific  refer- 
ences to  the  work  appear  in  1693,  1702,  1705,  and  1721.  The  Index  was  a  part  of 
the  Harvard  course  of  study  in  1726,  listed  in  the  Yale  catalogue  of  1743,  and  was 
among  the  books  claimed  lost  by  Harvard  students  after  the  fire  of  1764. 

23.  Farnaby,  Index  Rhetoricus  et  Oratonbus,  p.  2. 

24  Among  th$  sources  cited  by  Famaby  are  Aristotle,  Hermogenes,  Dionysius, 
Longinus,  Aphthonius,  Cicero,  Quintilian,  Capella,  Trapezuntius,  Ramus,  L.  Vivcs, 
Alsted,  Caussinus,  Vossius,  and  others.  Foster  Watson  calls  Farnaby  "one  of  the 
greatest  of  the  schoolmaster  editors  of  the  classics,"  and  this  contact  with  the  class- 
ical authors  is  obvious  ( op.  cit.,  p.  350).  The  Index  is  called  by  Mair  in  his  intro- 
duction to  Thomas  Wilson:  "a  small  but  exceedingly  well-constructed  book."  ( Arte 
of  Rhetorique  [Oxford,  1909]),  p.  xix. 

25.  The  phrasing  in  the  Harvard  records  was  "Dugard's  or  Farnaby's  Rhetoric" 
(italics  mine),  Wadsworth,  op.  cit.y  p.  28. 

26.  Donald  Lemon  Clark,  Rhetoric  and  Poetry  in  the  Renaissance  (New  York, 
1922 ) ,  p.  62,  makes  the  point  that  Farnaby  "gives  a  fairly  proportional  treatment  of 
inuentio,  dispositio,  elocutio,  and  actio.  Memoria  he  omits,  following  here,  as  else- 
where, the  sound  leadership  of  Vossius." 

27.  Typical  are  John  Clarke,  Formulae  Oratoriae . . .  ( London,  1639 ) ;  and  Nico- 
laus  Caussinus,  De  Eloquentia . . ,  ( London,  1651 ) . 

28.  The  Mysterie  of  Rhetorique  Unveil'd  (London,  1665). 

29.  Samuel  Johnson,  President  of  Kings  College:  His  Career  and  Writings,  ed. 
Herbert  and  Carol  Schneider,  4  vols.  (New  York,  1929),  I,  p.  317. 

30.  Smith,  op.  cit.y  p.  1. 

31.  William  Holders,  The  Elements  of  Speech:  an  essay  of  inquiry  into  the 
natural  production  of  letters,  with  an  appendix  concerning  persons  Deaf  and  Dumb 
(London,  1669).  The  book  was  sent  Winthrop  with  the  thanks  of  the  Society  for 
certain  items  which  he  had  sent  to  London.  ("Correspondence  of  the  Founders  of 
the  Royal  Society  with  Governor  Winthrop  of  Connecticut,"  Massachusetts  His- 
torical  Society  Proceedings,  1st  series,  XVI  [1878],  244.) 

32.  Leonard  Cox,  Arte  or  Crafte  of  Rhetoryke  (London,  1524). 

33.  Thomas  Wilson,  Arte  of  Rhetorique  (London,  1553). 

34.  Bernard  Lamy  was  the  author  of  the  work  published  under  the  following 
title:  The  Art  of  Speaking  Written  in  French  by  Messieurs  Du  Port  Royal  in  Pur- 
suance of  a  Former  Treatise,  Entitled,  The  Art  of  Thinking  Rendered  into  English 
(London,  1696). 

35.  A  copy  now  in  the  Harvard  library  is  inscribed,  "Edward  Wigglesworth, 
1716."  Wigglesworth  was  graduated  by  Harvard  in  1712,  Other  specific  references 


have  been  found  to  the  work  in  1722,  1726,  1742  and  1748,  and  it  seems  to  have 
been  considered  by  Benjamin  Franklin  for  use  in  his  "English  School." 

36.  Lamy,  op.  cit.,  "The  Art  of  Persuasion,"  p.  268. 

37.  T.  H.  Montgomery,  A  History  of  the  University  of  Pennsylvania  from  Its 
Foundation  to  AD  1770  (Philadelphia,  1900),  pp.  238-239. 

38.  William  Parker,  An  Account  of  Washington  College  in  the  State  of  Mary- 
land (Philadelphia,  1789),  p.  41. 

39.  See  especially  Warren  Guthrie,  "The  Development  of  Rhetorical  Theory  in 
America,"  Speech  Monographs,  XIV  (1947),  41-47. 

40.  London,  1759. 

41.  W.  P.  Sandford,  English  Theories  of  Public  Address,  1530-1828  (Columbus, 
1928),  p.  110. 

42.  See  especially  Sandford,  op.  cit.,  pp.  107-110;  H.  F.  Harding,  "English 
Rhetorical  Theory,  1750- 1800,"  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  Cornell  University, 
1937,  pp.  40-48  and  ff.;  Guthrie,  op.  cit.,  pp.  44-47. 

43.  Douglas  Ehninger,  "John  Ward  and  his  Rhetoric,"  Speech  Monographs, 
XVII  (1951),  16. 

44.  The  subtitle  is  descriptive  of  the  work:  An  Essay  on  the  Nature  of  Those 
Emphatical  and  Beautiful  Figures  Which  Give  Strength  and  Ornament  to  Writing. 

45.  (London,  1748). 

46.  Career  and  Writings,  Appendix. 

47.  Its  use  at  Pennsylvania  was  along  with  Longinus  and  Quintilian.  At  Harvard 
the  rhetoric  from  the  Preceptor  was  an  official  "reciting  book"  in  1786,  and  an 
American  edition  was  published  "for  the  use  of  the  University  in  Cambridge." 

48.  The  first  edition  was  published  in  London,  1762.  Seven  editions  were  pub- 
lished before  1790,  and  an  American  edition  was  published  in  1796. 

49.  Harvard  College  Papers,  1650-1753  (MSS),  I,  p.  296. 

50.  For  further  comment  on  Kames,  see  S.  Austin  Alliborne,  A  Critical  Dic- 
tionary of  English  Literature  and  British  a>nd  American  Authors  (Philadelphia, 
1891),  I,  870-874. 

51.  For  further  discussion  of  the  changes  and  the  meanings  of  "elocution,"  "pro- 
nuntiatio,"  etc.,  see  F.  W.  Haberman,  "The  Elocution  Movement  in  England, 
1750-1785,"  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  Cornell  University,  1947. 

52.  Incidentally,  each  called  itself  natural.  Contemporary  argument  continues 
over  just  what  is  "natural"  and  what  is  "mechanical."  For  illustration  see  recent 
writings  by  Parrish,  Van  Dragen,  Winans,  and  others  in  the  Quarterly  Journal  of 

53.  Many  studies  have  been  done  of  the  elocution  movement.  One  especially 
helpful  to  the  student  of  the  period  is  Haberman's,  op.  cit. 

54.  George  Fisher,  The  Amencan  Instructor,  p.  302.  It  may  be  of  interest  to 
note  that  the  first  use  of  "elocution"  to  describe  delivery  that  I  have  found  is  in 
this  work.  The  parts  of  logic  are  given  as  Invention,  Judgment,  Memory,  and  "the 
Art  of  Elocution  or  Delivering." 

55.  John  Witherspoon,  Lectures  on  Moral  Philosophy  and  Eloquence  (Wood- 
ward's 3rd  ed.,  Philadelphia,  1810).  Witherspoon  was  president  of  Princeton  from 
1768  to  1794,  and  the  Lectures  were  delivered  during  that  time.  They  were  never 
planned  for  publication,  but  were  first  published  with  Witherspoon's  collected  writ- 
ings after  his  death,  and  later  reprinted  as  a  separate  volume. 

56.  For  a  complete  analysis  of  Witherspoon,  see  Wilson  B.  Paul,  "John  Wither- 
spoon's  Theory  and  Practice  of  Public  Speaking,"  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation, 
Iowa,  1940. 

57.  An  American  Selection  of  Lessons  in  Reading  and  Speaking   (Hartford, 

58.  Webster  was  especially  filled  with  patriotic  fervor  and  was  attempting  to 
establish  a  distinctively  "American"  language.  Thus  his  three  volume  Grammatical 
Institute,  and  the  strongly  nationalistic  flavor  of  the  selections  chosen  for  Vol.  III. 

<J      Rhetorical  Practice  in  Colonial  America 


Much  of  higher  education  in  Colonial  times  was  conducted  orally, 
not  only  as  lectures  and  recitations,  but  prescribed  as  formal  original 
speeches,  as  declamations,  disputations,  commonplacing,  and  dramatic 
dialogues,  and  as  essays  and  poems  read  aloud.  To  understand  the  place 
of  rhetoric  in  such  education  and  the  accumulated  customs  of  the  first 
one  hundred  forty  years  of  training  in  speaking  in  American  colleges, 
one  must  consider  three  major  questions:  What  was  the  pattern  of 
public  programs  and  curricular  exercises  in  speaking  at  the  close  of 
the  Revolution?  How  did  this  pattern  develop  in  American  colleges? 
What  were  the  principal  values  and  disadvantages  of  the  most  common 
forms  of  rhetorical  training? 

Pattern  of  Rhetorical  Training  at  the  Close 
of  the  Revolution 

For  the  purposes  of  this  study,  rhetorical  training  may  be  divided  into 
( 1 )  the  public  programs  qf  the  colleges  in  which  student  speakers  par- 
ticipated and  (2)  the  regular  requirements  and  practices  in  the  curric- 
ulum and  in  student  clubs  and  societies. 

Speaking  in  Public  College  Exercises 

By  the  end  of  the  Revolution,  guests  were  ordinarily  invited  to  almost 
any  exercise  which  involved  orations  and  disputations  so  that  students 
often  had  audiences  composed  of  others  than  students  and  faculty  at 
monthly  and  quarterly  exercises,  senior  examinations,  commencements, 
and  special  academic  occasions  such  as  the  inauguration  of  a  president 
or  professor,  commemorations,  and  official  visits  of  dignitaries. 

In  1786,  young  John  Quincy  Adams  wrote  from  Harvard  that  at  the 
next  commencement  "there 'will  be  delivered  two  English  poems,  two 
English  orations,  two  Latin  orations,  a  Greek  dialogue,  three  forensic 



disputes,  and  an  English  dialogue  between  four."  1  At  Yale,  in  1785, 
orations  in  Hebrew,  Greek,  and  Latin,  an  English  oration  on  eloquence, 
a  dialogue,  syllogistic  disputes,  and  two  forensic  disputes  did  the  candi- 
dates "great  Honor  with  the  Literati,  &  gave  universal  Satisfaction  to 
the  most  respectable  &  splendid  Assembly."  2  At  Rhode  Island  College, 
commencement  included  orations  in  Greek,  Latin,  and  English,  a  poem, 
and  usually  both  syllogistic  and  forensic  disputes.3  For  almost  five  hours 
at  the  Princeton  commencement  of  1784,  Stiles  heard  sixteen  graduates 
of  the  College  of  New  Jersey  deliver  orations  in  English— salutatory, 
valedictory,  gratulatory,  serious,  and  humorous.4  In  typical  postwar 
commencements,  the  syllogistic  disputations  were  disappearing  and 
forensic  disputes,  English  orations,  and  occasional  student  "dialogues" 
together  with  some  poems  and  essays  read  aloud  became  the  fare 
which  was,  as  always,  well  interlarded  with  reunions  over  food  and 

During  an  academic  year,  however,  commencen^nt  was  only  the 
climax  of  a  series  of  exhibitions  and  examuT^onFort^e'ofal  prowess 
of  sQollege  students.  At  least  by  1778,  Yale  concluded  the  traditional 
oral  examinations  of  the  senior  class  with  a  program  of  orations.  Stiles 
described  it: 

The  Senior  Tutor  thereupon  made  a  very  eloquent  Latin  Speech  &  presented 
the  Candidates  for  the  Honors  of  the  College.  This  Present3-  the  Pres*  in  a 
Latin  Speech  accepted,  &  addressed  the  Gentlemen  Examiners  &  gave  the 
latter  Liby  to  return  home  till  Comm. 

The  exercises  after  the  tutor's  speech  consisted  of  a  cliosophic  oration 
in  Latin,  11  minutes;  a  poetical  composition  in  English,  12  minutes;  an 
English  dialogue,  9  minutes;  a  cliosophic  oration  in  English,  16  min- 
utes; disputations  in  English,  11,  8,  and  7  minutes;  a  valedictory  oration 
in  English,  22  minutes;  and  an  anthem.5 

In  1771,  President  Witherspoon  of  the  College  of  New  Jersey  had 
introduced  prize  contests  in  speaking  on  the  day  preceding  commence- 
ment. These  included  reading  English,  Latin,  and  Greek  aloud  "with 
propriety  and  grace  and  being  able  to  answer  all  questions  on  its 
orthography  and  grammar,"  speaking  Latin,  and  pronouncing  English 
orations.  In  the  last  contest,  "the  preference  was  determined  by  ballot, 
and  all  present  were  permitted  to  vote  who  were  graduates  of  this  or 
any  other  College."  Reporting  on  the  first  year  of  these  contests,  the 
Pennsylvania  Chronicle  said  that  "in  public  speaking  the  competitors 
were  numerous,  and  it  was  very  difficult  to  decide  the  pre-eminence." 
In  1774,  the  oratorical  prizes  were  won  by  Charles  Lee  and  John  Rogers, 
"each  adjudged  by  seven  Gentlemen."  A  biographer  has  suggested  that 
H.  H.  Brackenridge  not  only  became  known  as  an  eloquent  undergrad- 


uate  orator  at  Princeton,  but  wrote  speeches  for  others,  once  to  be 
rewarded  by  a  much  needed  "handsome  suit  of  clothes  and  a  cocked 
hat/' 6 

On  a  variety  of  other  occasions  during  the  academic  year,  such  as 
quarter-days,  semiannual  exhibitions,  and  sometimes  monthly  programs, 
outsiders  were  invited  to  hear  disputes,  orations,  and  dialogues  pre- 
sented by  students.  Regarding  quarter-days  at  Yale  in  1784  and  1785, 
Stiles  noted:  "Present  100  Ladies  &  Gentlemen,  a  crouded  Assembly" 
and  "A  Full  Assembly  of  Scholars,  Gent,  &  Ladies."  A  student  called 
the  exercises,  which  were  usually  held  in  the  comparatively  small  col- 
lege hall  or  chapel,  "very  clever  &  humorous."  In  1780,  Stiles  described 
the  program  as  "anthepi;  dialogue;  oration;  anthem,"  On  December  11, 
1782,  "die  Seniors  exhibited  the  usual  academic  Entertainments,  viz  a 
Latin  oration,  an  English  Dialogue  between  Gen  Warren,  Gov  Hutchin- 
son  &  Count  Pulaski  all  in  the  Shades.  And  English  Oration."  With  his 
customary  precision,  Stiles  recorded  the  lengths  of  the  various  items  on 
some  programs: 

July  16,  1783.  Cliosophic  Oration  English  11',  Forensic  Dispute,  about 
50',  English  Dialogue,  20',  Valedictory  Oration  in  Latin,  26',  Address  to  the 
Candidates  by  Tutor  Meigs;  he  as  all  others  speaking  on  the  stage  16'. 

Mar.  9,  1785.  Latin  Oration,  15',  Dialogue  S3',  English  Orations  8'.T 

On  commemorative  occasions,  colleges  usually  included  some  student 
speaking  on  the  programs.  At  Yale  in  the  1770's  and  1780's,  classmates 
delivered  memorial  orations  for  deceased  students.  These  speeches 
compounded  large  quantities  of  general  philosophy  on  death  and  reli- 
gion with  personal  recollections  and  tributes  and  long,  sentimental 
conclusions  which  were  usually  adorned  with  elegiac  poetry.8  At  Stiles* 
inaugural,  a  "senior  Bachelor  ascended  the  Stage  &  delivered  a  con- 
gratulatory Oration  in  Latin."  9  Students  of  the  College  of  William  and 
Mary  sometimes  spoke  on  founders'  day.  Following  a  custom  at  Oxford 
and  Cambridge  when  the  Tudor  sovereigns  visited,  junior  or  senior 
orators  at  Harvard  pronounced  Latin  orations  before  the  visiting 

Speaking  in  the  Curriculum  and  in  Literary 
and  Debating  Societies 

*  From  the  use  of  different  forms  of  speaking  in  public  academic  exer- 
cises, we  gain  some  insight  into  the  pattern  of  training  and  certainly 
can  observe  administrative  emphases  or  the  suitability  of  the  different 
forms  for  public  use.  But  the  major  evidence  of  the  pattern  of  rhetorical 
training  may  be  found  in  the  weekly  and  yearly  requirements  of  the 


curriculum  and  in  the  extracurricular  activities  of  students  in  literary 
and  debating  societies. 

Although  tha^ctmcu^^  the 

mid-1780's  the  Latin  and  Greek  languages  ,v^g]^gg^^-~^a]  exer. 
cises  than  ever  before  and  by  the  end  of  the  eighteenth  century  even 
Latin  syllogistic  disputations  had  disappeared  from  the  public  exercises 
in  all  the  colleges  but  Rhode  Island  and  from  practically  all  training 
programs.  Logic,  formerly  a  required  freshman  course  which  served  as 
a  basis  for  the  syllogistic  disputes,  had  generally  become  part  of  the 
junior  or  senior  curriculum.  Interest  in  English  language  and  literature 
seemed  to  develop  in  various  directions.  The  forensic  disputes  which 
replaced  the  syllogistic  were  in  English.  Although  the  learned  lan- 
guages were  still  employed  in  original  speaking,  the  number  of  English 
orations  greatly  increased.  A  revival  of  interest  in  declamations  and  the 
institution  of  contests  in  reading  aloud  at  the  College  of  New  Jersey 
probably  motivated  drill  in  oral  delivery.  To  some  extent,  this  may  indi- 
cate awareness  of  the  expanding  literature  of  the  elocutionists.  At 
Harvard,  the  Overseers  had  for  some  years  considered  dramatic  dia- 
logues and  other  experiments  in  theatrical  performances  as  desirable 
oral  training.  However,  emphasis  on  writing  English  also  was  increas- 
ing and  the  appearance  of  both  dialogues  and  the  longer  commence- 
ment and  quarter-day  pieces  called  "essays"  on  public  programs  seem 
partly  an  oral  increment  derived  from  the  new  attention  to  "belles 

Another  change  which  was  far  advanced  in  the  1780's  in  the  colleges 
was  the  abandonment  of  the  class  tutor  system  for  more  specialized 
tutors  and  professors.  However,  at  Harvard,  for  example,  all  tutors  were 
still  expected  to  teach  writing  and  speaking  in  addition  to  a  specialty. 
Many  tutors  were  young  and  inexperienced  in  teaching  and  by  no 
means  specialists  in  rhetoric.  Only  President  Witherspoon's  lectures  on 
rhetoric  in  the  postwar  period  provided  notable,  expert  guidance  for 
training  in  speaking. 

The  pattern  of  rhetorical  instruction  continued  to  consist  of  weekly 
attendance  at  lectures  and  exercises  by  classes.  In  some  colleges,  only 
the  two  upper  classes  participated  in  disputations  and  orations.  Presi- 
dent Madison  thus  described  the  requirements  at  William  and  Mary: 

The  public  exercises  are,  1st,  weekly,  the  Whole  University  in  a  con- 
venient apartment,  one  of  the  Society  presiding.  Questions  are  previously  pre- 
pared and  then  debated.  2  Monthly,  for  the  students  in  Law.  And  annually 
when  subjects  are  given  to  deliver  Orations,  which,  if  deserving,  are  printed.11 

At  Harvard,  John  Quincy  Adams,  who  was  well  impressed  with  the 
training  in  speaking,  wrote: 


. . .  speaking  in  the  Chapel,  before  all  the  classes,  which  I  shall  have  to  do 
in  my  turn  four  or  five  times  before  we  leave  college.  Such  also  are  the 
forensic  disputations,  one  of  which  we  are  to  have  tomorrow.  A  question  is 
given  out  by  the  tutor  in  metaphysics,  for  the  whole  class  to  dispute  upon. 
They  alternately  affirm  or  deny  the  questions,  and  write,  each,  two  or  three 
pages  for  or  against,  which  is  read  in  the  Chapel  before  the  tutor,  who 
finally  gives  his  opinion  concerning  the  question.  We  have  two  or  three  ques- 
tions every  quarter.  That  for  tomorrow  is,  whether  the  immortality  of  the 
human  soul  is  probable  from  natural  reason?  It  comes  in  course  for  me  to 
affirm,  and  in  this  case  it  makes  the  task  much  easier.  It  so  happens  that 
whatever  the  question  may  be,  I  must  support  it.12 

In  Stiles*  College  Memoranda  of  1783,  some  speaking  is  indicated  for 
each  class,  usually  once  or  at  the  most  twice  during  the  week.  Seniors 
and  juniors  disputed  Mondays  and  Tuesdays.  Juniors  also  spoke  in 
chapel  part  of  Thursday  afternoons.  Sophomores  spoke  in  chapel  Sat- 
urday afternoons.  The  amount  of  freshman  time  for  speaking  is  not 
clear.13  In  general,  the  number  of  opportunities  for  each  student  to 
speak  was  not  large.  Although  most  of  the  compositions  were  usually 
written  out  before  delivery,  the  amount  of  criticism  both  in  written  and 
oral  forms  and,  indeed,  the  effort  put  upon  the  composition  and  per- 
formance by  students  are  factors  not  clarified  in  contemporary  accounts. 

That  there  were  numerous  students  who  sought  more  rather  than 
less  opportunities  to  speak  is  suggested  by  the  existence  of  literary  and 
debating  societies  in  the  colleges.  Particularly  at  New  Jersey,  Yale, 
Harvard,  Dartmouth,  and  William  and  Mary,  student  members  of  such 
clubs  indulged  in  frequent  programs  which  emphasized  all  the  types  of 
speaking  that  were  included  in  the  curricular  exercises.  In  addition, 
business  sessions  and  extempore  disputes  as  well  as  some  dramatiza- 
tions provided  even  greater  variety.  Mutual  criticism  and  competition 
stimulated  improved  performances.  At  William  and  Mary,  the  able 
George  Wythe  also  sponsored  moot  courts  for  would-be  lawyers  at 
which  some  deliberative  as  well  as  strictly  legal  problems  were 

Such  was  the  nature  of  student  training  and  activities  in  speaking 
just  after  the  Revolution,  The  training  consisted  primarily  o£  lectures 
and  readings  in  rhetorical  theory  and  related  subjects,  together  with 
regut&c'  exercises  in  original  speaking,  declamation,  and  disputation 
which  gave  a  fW  Opportunities  awua%  jEac  oaoh  student' jto  speak 
befot^nis  cl^ss  ajid  tutors  and  for  selected^faidcsats  to ,  spook  ^.quarter- 
days,  examinations,  prize  ^QBtprts,  ,aid  cowii^iijcements.  A$  purely 
extracurricufar""  enterprises,,  speaUag  ^t«d^'€dbMft|""16urishfea?  some- 
timesvQii  a  competitive  basis?  iti  literary  and  d^Mting*  societies.  The 
quality  of  aH  these  aspects  of  rhetorical  training  varied  considerably 
from  one  college  to  another.  The  quality  of  instruction  was  apparently 


superior  under  the  aegis  of  President  Witherspoon,  George  Wythe,  and 
perhaps  under  Ezra  Stiles  and  the  Yale  tutors. 

The  Development  of  Rhetorical  Training  in  Early 
American  Colleges 

The  manner  in  which  rhetorical  training  developed  may  be  seen  in 
three  stages.  The  first  was  the  pattern  used  at  Harvard  College  in  the 
seventeenth  century.  In  a  second  stage,  with  minor  changes,  the 
Harvard  pattern  was  adopted  at  Yale  and  the  College  of  William  and 
Mary.  During  the  middle  decades  of  the  eighteenth  century,  the  Col- 
lege of  New  Jersey,  the  College  of  Philadelphia,  King's  College,  Dart- 
mouth College,  and  Rhode  Island  College  instituted  programs  which 
contained  many  of  the  same  elements,  but  showed  considerable  indi- 
viduality. In  a  third  stage,  more  significant  changes  in  the  traditional 
pattern  of  Tudor  and  Continental  education  resulted  from  demands  for 
functional  training  in  the  speaking  of  English  which  feegan  with  the 
plaiming  of  the  College  of  Philadelphia  at  mid-century  and  permeated 
all  the  colleges. 

In  1642,  when  Harvard  set  up  laws  to  guide  students,  it  required 
declamations,  syllogistic  disputations,  orations,  and  commonplacing. 
All  these  had  been  similarly  practiced  in  Britain  and  Europe.  The  rules 
of  syllogistic  disputation  had  changed  little  since  Abelard's  day  and  for 
centuries  formal  declamations  and  orations  had  been  exhibited  by 
British  university  students  at  commencements  and  state  visits.15  In  the 
early  laws,  Harvard  undergraduates  and  bachelors  were  required  to 
"repeate  Sermons  in  ye  Hall  whenever  they  are  called  forth,"  "untill 
they  have  Commonplaced,"  although  the  purpose  seemed  not  so  much 
rhetorical  as  that  "with  reverence  &  Love  they  may  retaine  God  &  his 
truths  in  their  minds."  Commonplacing  was  generally  scheduled  for 
nine  and  ten  o'clock  Saturday  mornings.16  Declamations  for  first,  sec- 
ond, and  third  year  men  were  held  at  nine  and  ten  on  Fridays.  At  first, 
"publique  declamations  in  Latine  and  Greeke"  were  planned  for  each 
student  monthly,  but  these  were  reduced  to  bimonthly  in  1655.  The 
declamations,  contrary  to  frequent  usage,  seem  generally  to  have  been 
original  orations  and  sometimes  were  delivered  in  English  instead  of  a 
classical  language.17  Practice  in  disputation,  supervised  by  the  presi- 
dent, occupied  an  hour  for  each  class  on  Monday  and  Tuesday  after- 
noons. Finally,  the  whole  college  heard  the  president  lecture  on  rheto- 
ric from  eight  to  nine  Friday  mornings  and,  after  declamations,  rhetoric 
was  to  be  studied  the  rest  of  the  day.  In  this  plan  of  1642,  syllogistic 
disputations  provided  practice  in  logic,  but  the  subjects  which  were 
chosen  ranged  through  all  the  areas  of  study.  Likewise,  declamations 


or  orations  represented  practice  in  rhetoric,  which  for  the  followers  of 
Ramus  it  will  be  recalled  meant  the  canons  of  elocutio  and  pronuntia- 
tio.  To  a  marked  extent,  pedagogy  also  followed  the  Ramist  procedure 
of  one  subject  a  day,  taught  by  successive  periods  of  lecture,  study, 
quiz,  and  oral  applications  of  what  was  learned  in  one  or  more  of  the 
prescribed  rhetorical  exercises.18 

Disputations  and  orations  constituted  the  main  fare  at  seventeenth 
century  commencements.  Before  as  many  critical  Harvard  alumni, 
admiring  parents,  and  curious  townsfolk  as  could  come,  the  young  men 
showed  their  skills  in  logic  and  rhetoric  and  made  their  first  promising 
public  impressions  upon  future  colleagues  in  the  ministry  and  leaders 
in  both  church  and  politics.10 

When  the  College  of  William  and  Mary  and  Yale  College  were 
founded  near  the  opening  of  the  eighteenth  century  and  even  at  mid- 
century  when  the  College  of  New  Jersey  and  King's  College  were 
planned,  the  Harvard  pattern  (or  perhaps  more  accurately,  the  tradi- 
tional university  pattern )  of  rhetorical  training  was  used.  Thus,  at  the 
beginning  of  these  colleges,  the  Latin  syllogistic  disputations,  declama- 
tions, and  orations  predominated.20 

By  mid-century,  however,  various  forces  were  challenging  the  domi- 
nance of  the  Latin  language,  the  Ramist  views  of  rhetoric  and  logic, 
and  consequently  the  nature  of  the  rhetorical  exercises.  Demands  for 
more  functional  training  in  the  English  language  led  to  moire  orations 
in  English  and  contributed  to  the  substitution  of  the  forensic  fdr  the 
syllogistic  disputation.  Under  President  Finley,  the  College  of  New 
Jersey  required  some  declamations  "to  display  the  various  passions,  and 
exemplify  the  graces  of  utterance  and  gesture."  At  Yale  and  other  col- 
leges, Latin  orations  appeared  on  commencement  programs  until  the 
end  of  the  period.21  During  the  last  half  of  the  century,  the  colleges 
permitted  forensic  disputations  to  become  increasingly  prominent  both 
in  the  classroom  exercises  and  in  public  exhibitions.  The  syllogistic 
form  appeared  last  at  commencements  at  New  Jersey  in  1774,  Phila- 
delphia in  1775,  and  King's  in  1770.  The  forensic  form  was  used  in  the 
1760's  at  commencements  by  all  except  Dartmouth,  Rutgers,  and  pos- 
sibly William  and  Mary.  The  forensic  gained  ground  until,  prior  to  the 
outbreak  of  the  Revolution,  Harvard,  Yale,  King's,  Philadelphia,  Rhode 
Island  College,  and  the  College  of  New  Jersey  required  forensic  dispu- 
tation, usually  weekly,  by  the  two  upper  classes.  By  the  1790's,  the  syl- 
logistic form  had  practically  disappeared  from  the  requirements  of 
American  colleges.22 

Benjamin  Franklin's  Proposals  Relating  to  the  Education  of  Youth  in 
Pennsilvanta  (1744)  and  the  Idea  of  the  English  School  (ca.  1751) 
widely  publicized  a  point  of  view  that  was  gaining  favor  particularly 


in  urban  areas.  Franklin  demanded  the  training  of  youth  in  the  Eng- 
lish tongue: 

Thus  instructed,  Youth  will  come  out  of  this  School  fitted  for  learning  any 
Business,  Calling,  or  Profession,  except  wherein  Languages  are  required;  and 
tho'  unacquainted  with  any  antient  or  foreign  Tongue,  they  will  be  masters 
of  their  own,  which  is  more  immediate  and  general  Use.  .  .  ,23 

Both  in  the  Proposals  and  the  Idea  of  the  English  School,  he  outlined 
courses  which  emphasized  speaking  and  reading  skills.  He  wanted 
youth  to  develop  clarity  and  conciseness,  to  pronounce  distinctly,  and 
"to  form  their  own  Stiles."  In  his  plans,  he  did  not  overlook  the  study  of 
model  speeches,  the  elements  of  rhetoric  and  logic,  translations  of  the 
classics,  and  the  latest  British  literature  of  Milton,  Locke,  Addison, 
Pope,  and  Swift  or  the  use  of  the  dictionary;  for,  he  wrote: 

It  is  impossible  a  Reader  should  give  due  Modulation  to  his  Voice,  and  pro- 
nounce properly,  unless  his  understanding  goes  before  his  Tongue. . .  . 
Declarations,  repeating  Speeches,  delivering  Orations, . . .  [and]  Public  Dis- 
putes warm  the  Imagination,  whet  the  Industry,  and  strengthen  the  Natural 

This  broad  concept  of  a  program  of  speech  training  grew  out  of 
Franklin's  wide  acquaintance  with  the  needs  of  professional  and  busi- 
ness men,  his  interest  in  contemporary  literature  and  writers,  his  belief 
in  the  doctrine  of  good  works,  and  awareness  of  the  special  dialectal 
problems  of  the  middle  colonies.  Franklin  was  a  clear  spokesman  for 
the  awakened  interest  in  public  speaking  that  was  developing  out  of 
the  religious  revivals,  the  rise  of  the  lawyer  class,  and  the  formation  of 
business  and  trade  organizations  in  which  he  himself  had  taken  the 
lead.  Political  agitation  in  the  ensuing  decades  intensified  this  interest 
in  speaking  well. 

Although  Franklin  actually  met  with  only  partial  and  irregular  suc- 
cess in  his  effort  to  establish  speaking  training  primarily  in  English  at 
the  new  college,  in  other  colleges  students  were  demanding  exercises  in 
English  and  governing  boards  were  not  completely  unsympathetic.  In 
October,  1754,  the  Harvard  Board  of  Overseers  selected  a  committee 
"to  project  some  new  method  to  promote  oratory."  In  June,  1755,  the 
Corporation  approved  an  ingenious  plan  to  substitute  dialogues  for  the 
usual  declamation.  The  materials  were  to  be  chosen  and  translated  from 
standard  Latin  authors,  each  student  to  impersonate  a  part  and  then 
deliver  his  part  in  translation  as  an  oration.  In  May,  1757,  the  Corpora- 
tion directed  the  tutors  to  spend  Friday  mornings,  except  when  formal 
declamations  were  being  held,  helping  freshmen  and  sophomores  with 
their  elocution  or  pronunciation  of  Latin  or  English  orations,  speeches, 
or  dialogues.  In  addition,  once  a  month  the  two  senior  classes  were  to 


hold  disputations  "in  English  in  the  forensic  manner  without  being  con- 
fined to  syllogisms."  For  ten  years  the  Overseers  were  concerned  with 
the  enforcement  of  these  major  changes  by  semiannual  visitations  and 

Probably  the  College  of  New  Jersey  developed  the  most  ambitious 
programs  of  original  orations.  According  to  the  Account  of  1764,  seniors 
gave  original  orations  at  monthly  oration-days  and  the  three  other 
classes  alternately  delivered  original  orations  and  declamations  from 
other  authors.  Apparently,  Witherspoon's  arrival  as  president  accentu- 
ated President  Davies'  program  and  the  new  president  soon  instituted 
the  annual  prize  contests  which  have  been  described.  In  1772,  Wither- 
spoon  described  the  curricular  requirements  in  oratory: 

During  the  whole  course  of  their  studies,  the  three  younger  classes,  two 
every  evening  formerly,  and  now  three,  because  of  their  increased  number, 
pronounce  an  oration,  on  the  stage  erected  for  that  purpose  in  the  hall,  im- 
mediately after  prayers,  that  they  may  learn,  by  early  habit,  presence  of  mind, 
and  proper  pronunciation  and  gesture  in  public  speaking.  This  excellent  prac- 
tice, which  has  been  kept  up  almost  from  the  first  foundation  of  the  College, 
has  had  the  most  admirable  effects.  The  senior  scholars,  every  five  or  six 
weeks,  pronounce  orations  of  their  own  composition,  to  which  all  persons  of 
any  note  in  the  neighborhood  are  invited  or  admitted.26 

At  King's,  the  formal  laws  produced  little  enlargement  of  original 
speaking.  At  Philadelphia,  with  Professor  Kinnersley's  departure  in 
1772,  oratorical  exercises  declined.27  At  Rhode  Island  College,  both 
forensic  disputations  and  English  orations  appeared  on  the  first  com- 
mencement programs.  In  1774,  the  two  upper  classes  were  required  to 
attend  weekly  forensic  disputes.28  At  Dartmouth,  the  first  commence- 
ment of  1771  included  one  English  oration,  two  orations  in  Latin,  a 
syllogistic  dispute,  but  no  forensic  disputation  occurred  prior  to  1774. 
In  the  laws  of  1782,  the  first  Wednesday  of  each  month  was  devoted  to 
forensic  disputes  by  seniors.29 

As  previously  noted,  another  change  which  occurred  as  the  Ramist 
system  of  logic  and  rhetoric  gave  way  to  classical  rhetorical  theory  and 
use  of  the  native  tongue  was  the  employment  of  professorial  lecturers 
or  special  tutors  in  rhetoric  and  allied  fields  in  a  few  colleges.  Such 
experts  as  William  Small  at  William  and  Mary,  Kinnersley  at  the  College 
of  Philadelphia,  and  Witherspoon  at  the  College  of  New  Jersey  became 
noted  lecturers,  though  it  may  be  doubted  that  they  were  superior  to 
President  Dunster  and  other  teacher-presidents  of  Harvard  in  the 
seventeenth  and  early  eighteenth  centuries  who  personally  conducted 
the  lectures  as  did  Witherspoon  in  this  later  period. 

Several  colleges  experimented  with  dialogues  and  with  poems,  essays, 


and  other  written  compositions  of  a  literary  nature  which  were  read 
aloud  as  part  of  the  speaking  exercises.  These  appeared  on  commence- 
ment programs  in  1762  at  Philadelphia,  1764  at  Princeton,  1773  at 
Harvard,  and  at  other  colleges  thereafter.  Was  direct  instruction  given 
in  these  exercises?  The  essays  and  poems  read  aloud  may  have  been 
part  of  the  training  in  declamation.  Although  the  Harvard  Overseers 
blessed  the  teaching  of  dramatic  dialogues  in  1755,  the  chief  evidence 
of  training  in  such  exercises  is  in  the  literary  clubs. 

At  Harvard,  Yale,  New  Jersey,  William  and  Mary,  King's,  Dartmouth, 
and  perhaps  at  the  other  colleges  to  a  lesser  degree,  societies  were 
organized  at  various  times  during  the  eighteenth  century,  which  utilized 
disputations,  orations,  and  other  types  of  speaking  as  major  items  on 
their  programs,  although  religious  and  social  activities  and  society 
libraries  were  also  important  incentives  for  students  to  join.  Many 
societies  did  not  outlive  the  student  generation  which  organized  them, 
but  by  mid-century  a  few  organizations  achieved  a  degree  of  perma- 
nence. Critonian  at  Yale  lasted  from  1750  to  1772.  In  1753,  Fellowship 
Club,  later  Linonian,  and  in  1768  Brothers  in  Unity  were  founded.  At 
William  and  Mary  in  1776  the  first  chapter  of  Phi  Beta  Kappa  was 
formed.  It  later  organized  chapters  at  other  colleges.  In  the  same  year, 
Rutgers  men  founded  the  Athenian  society.  In  the  1780's  at  Dartmouth, 
three  major  societies,  the  Social  Friends,  the  United  Fraternity,  and  the 
local  chapter  of  Phi  Beta  Kappa  began.  At  the  College  of  New  Jersey, 
the  earlier  Well-Meaning  and  Plain-Dealing  societies  were  disbanded 
in  1768  but  the  next  year  the  famous  American  Whig  and  Cliosophic 
societies  arose  to  create  a  strong  competition  in  varied  programs  which 
included  debates,  disputations,  occasional  orations,  "Harangues,"  and 
reading  aloud.  In  Clio,  "correctors  of  speaking"  and  "correctors  of  com- 
position" became  regularly  elected  officers.  At  King's,  Rhode  Island 
College,  and  the  College  of  Philadelphia  the  societies  appear  to  have 
been  less  influential  in  student  life.30 

Values  of  Major  Forms  of  Rhetorical  Training 

What  were  the  principal  values  and  some  of  the  disadvantages  of 
the  major  forms  of  rhetorical  training  which  were  used  in  the  early 
American  colleges?  For  purposes  of  general  criticism  and  evaluation, 
we  shall  consider  here  only  the  syllogistic  disputation,  the  forensic  dis- 
putation, and  the  oration  which  persisted  as  an  exercise  throughout  the 
period.  The  unusual  opportunities  for  more  flexible  forms  of  speaking 
which  the  student  societies  made  possible  we  shall  mention  but  briefly. 
David  Potter  treats  of  the  literary  society  later  in  this  volume. 



Syllogistic  Disputations 

In  an  era  in  which  most  students  at  Harvard  were  planning  to  be 
ministers,  the  sifting  and  defense  of  "truth"  by  categorical  forms  of  logic 
offered  advantages,  particularly  if  audiences  were  accustomed  to  the 
"plain  style"  of  pulpit  address  in  which  concise,  didactic,  and  closely 
reasoned  discourse  was  predominant.  Aside  from  some  abstract  specu- 
lation, the  purpose  of  formal  logic  was  not  primarily  to  develop  and 
project  new  solutions  for  problems.  As  syllogistic  disputation  was  prac- 
ticed, the  topics  or  theses  were  drawn  from  the  curriculum  of  ethics, 
philosophy,  politics,  theology,  grammar,  rhetoric,  mathematics,  and 
ancient  languages.  What  the  student  studied  he  could  formally  defend 
or  attack.  If  the  "truth"  seemed  to  be  wanting  adequate  defense,  the 
tutor  or  president-moderator,  except  at  public  occasions,  would  inter- 
vene and  suggest  arguments.  Either  intervention  or  a  decision  on  the 
"truth"  by  the  moderator  could  assist  the  lone  respondent  if  he  were 
overwhelmed  by  several  opponents. 

Despite  efforts  to  insure  the  victory  or  at  least  an  adequate  defense 
of  accepted  truths,  extreme  conservatives,  such  as  the  Boston  minister 
Crosswell,  charged  that  graduates  were  forced  to  deny  theses  that  were 
true  and  that  the  "Spirit  of  Atheism  is  thereby  diffused."  In  an  answer 
to  CrosswelFs  charges,  President  Holyoke  chiefly  relied  upon  the  cen- 
tury-old tradition  behind  this  type  of  thesis.  He  made  no  formal  Aristo- 
telian justification  of  the  exercise,  but  pointed  to  its  use  in  all  Protestant 
universities  and  especially  at  Harvard  under  Chauncy,  Oakes,  and 
Mather,  who  "were  as  jealous  of  the  Honour  of  God  as  you. . . ." 31 

It  was  also  argued  against  the  disputes  that  the  logical  method  was 
too  intricate  and  made  too  many  minor  distinctions  which  reduced 
argument  to  "a  Parcel  Terms"  and  the  "Art  of  Wrangling."  By  1786, 
when  this  form  had  been  abandoned  at  most  colleges,  John  Quincy 
Adams  recorded  in  his  Harvard  diary: 

These  syllogistics  are  very  much  despised  by  the  scholars,  and  no  attention 
seems  to  be  paid  to  them  by  the  company  at  Commencement.  The  scholars 
in  general  think  that  the  government  in  giving  them  those  parts  write  on  their 
foreheads  DUNCE  in  capital  letters. 

A  few  days  later  he  wrote  his  father: 

Syllogistic  disputes  ...  are  held  in  detestation  by  the  scholars,  and  every- 
one thinks  it  a  reflection  upon  his  character  as  a  genius  and  a  student  to  have 
a  syllogistic;  this  opinion  is  the  firmer,  because  the  best  scholars  almost  always 
have  the  other  parts,  There  are  many  disadvantages  derive  from  these  syl- 
logisms, and  I  know  of  only  one  benefit,  which  is  this.  Many  scholars  would 
go  through  college  without  studying  at  all,  but  would  idle  away  all  their 


time,  who  merely  from  the  horrors  of  syllogisms  begin  to  study,  acquire  a 
fondness  for  it,  and  make  a  very  pretty  figure  in  college.  . .  ,33 

Among  the  few  contemporary  accounts  of  public  performances  of 
students  in  these  disputes,  the  Pennsylvania  Gazette  in  1762  commented 
that  debate  at  Princeton  on  a  thesis  "afforded  pleasure  to  the  learned 
portion  of  the  audience."  Of  course  Latin  was  understood  only  by  the 
academic  community,  which  somewhat  limited  the  values  of  exercises 
in  that  language  at  commencements.  John  Macpherson  complained  that 
at  the  College  of  Philadelphia  in  1767,  even  the  Latin  was  "ill  done  . . . 
ill  pronounced,  &  there  was  no  action,  for  they  spoke  from  desks/' 33 
Actually,  if  we  judge  from  a  few  manuscripts  and  Stiles'  diary,  the 
public  disputes  of  later  years  comprised  only  a  few  concise  Latin  sen- 
tences at  a  time  by  each  speaker  and  interest  was  perforce  due  either  to 
parental  pride  or  the  keenest  intellectual  curiosity. 

Th^oy^QiHjQris,  then,  to  the  syllogistic  dispute  were  numerous.  In 
contrast  to  the  forensic  type  of  disputation,  the  syllogistic  was  overly 
concise  and  brief.  It  limited  logical  reasoning  to  deductive,  mostly 
categorical  syllogisms.  Because  of  the  nature  of  the  proofs,  the  subjects 
that  were  appropriate  gave  little  chance  to  debate  current  policies  and 
to  project  and  test  solutions.  The  structure,  in  which  one  respondent 
faced  a  number  of  opponents  tended,  many  thought,  to  favor  the  oppo- 
sition. The  pattern  was  extremely  stereotyped  and  allowed  no  essential 
adaptation  for  the  persuasion  of  the  audience.  In  this  respect,  the  syllo- 
gistic dispute  remained  dialectic  and  therefore  not  rhetorical  training, 
except  for  the  requirement  of  oral  presentation.34 

Forensic  Disputations 

To  students  familiar  with  the  syllogistic,  the  forensic  dispute  offered 
much  more  varied  opportunities  for  using  all  forms  of  reasoning  and 
the  whole  range  of  classical  rhetorical  skills  from  invention  through 
delivery.  The  less  concise  and  usually  more  familiar  English  language 
prompted  fluency;  it  assured,  too,  that  audiences  would  understand 
most  of  what  was  said.  For  students,  the  practice  of  using  from  two  to 
four  persons  on  each  side  in  debate  and  the  extension  of  the  total  time 
to  forty-five  minutes  or  more  in  both  public  and  training  exercises  made 
the  preparation  and  delivery  of  a  forensic  a  major  academic  event  in 
which  it  was  an  honor  to  participate. 

The  colleges  turned  to  the  forensic  form  just  before  and  during  the 
period  in  which  students  were  taking  an  intense  interest  in  the  difficul- 
ties between  the  Colonies  and  Great  Britain,  which  challenged  men  to 
form  opinions  and  to  debate  them  vigorously.  Many  subjects  continued 
to  be  chosen  from  the  fields  of  academic  controversy  in  philosophy, 


rhetoric.,  languages,  and  literature.  As  the  Revolution  approached,  how- 
ever, students  chose  a  large  proportion  of  questions  from  the  issues 
which  sprang  up  between  the  mother  country  and  the  Colonies  or  from 
the  domestic  reforms  advocated  by  the  Whigs.  Proposition  and  ques- 
tions such  as  these  illustrate  the  trend: 

It  is  lawful  for  every  man,  and  in  many  cases  his  indispensable  duty,  to 
hazard  his  life  in  the  defence  of  his  civil  liberty.  (1768) 

The  Non-Importation  Agreement  reflects  a  Glory  on  the  American  Mer- 
chants, and  was  a  noble  Exertion  of  Self-Denial  and  Public  Spirit.  (1770) 

The  legality  of  enslaving  Africans. 

Whether  the  Press  ought  to  be  free? 

Whether  Females  ought  to  be  admitted  to  public  Civil  Government? 

Whether  Representatives  are  to  act  according  to  their  own  Minds  or  the 
Minds  of  their  Constituents?  35 

At  the  first  commencement  of  Rhode  Island  College  in  1769,  James 
Varnum  and  William  Williams  debated  "Whether  the  British  America 
can,  under  her  present  circumstances,  with  good  policy  effect  to  become 
an  independent  state."  3G  In  1773  at  Harvard,  Theodore  Parsons  and 
Eliphalet  Pearson  clashed  over  whether  African  slavery  was  according 
to  the  law  of  nature.  Rather  than  the  formal  arguments,  the  careful 
persuasive  approaches  of  the  opposing  speakers  in  this  debate  com- 
manded respect.  The  first  speaker  against  slavery  apparently  assumed 
considerable  opposition  to  his  position.  So,  with  little  argument  and 
slight  attention  to  African  slaves,  he  talked  at  some  length  about  the 
views  of  the  audience  on  liberty  in  general.  Then,  to  combat  such  a 
conciliatory  approach,  the  second  speaker  in  the  debate  asked  the 
audience  to  suspend  its  sentiments  and  examine  the  arguments  objec- 
tively. He  said:  "That  Liberty  is  sweet  to  all,  I  freely  own;  but . . .  the 
doctrine  of  happiness  of  the  whole . . .  requires  some  subordination." 
With  this  he  began  a  long  formal  argument  that  slavery  in  general 
reflected  a  law  of  nature  which  was  peculiarly  applicable  to  Africans 
in  this  country.37 

After  the  Revolution,  Stiles  recorded  such  timely  questions  for  dispu- 
tation as  the  mode  of  taxation  for  paying  continental  debts,  private  vs. 
public  education,  universal  toleration  of  religions,  the  established 
church,  Vermont  statehood,  a  standing  army,  increased  power  for  Con- 
gress, the  Society  of  the  Cincinnati,  and  imprisonment  for  debt38 

Contemporary  comment  reflected  less  interest  in  the  subjects  used 
than  in  the  "spirit  and  eloquence"  of  the  speaking.  The  Pennsylvania 
Gazette  praised  the  English  forensic  dispute  at  Princeton  in  1760  on  the 
proposition  that  "the  Elegance  of  the  Orations  consists  in  the  Words 
being  Consonant  to  the  Sense"  by  saying  that  "The  Respondent,  Mr. 
Saml  Blair,  acquitted  himself  with  universal  applause  in  the  elegant 


Composition  and  Delivery  of  his  Defence;  and  his  Opponent  answered 
with  Humor  and  Pertinency."  In  1767  at  Philadelphia,  Macpherson 
remarked:  "We  were  then  entertained  by  an  English  dispute,  opened 
by  Tighlman  (who  alone  it  is  said  composed  his  own  piece)  who  was 
opposed  by  Johnson.  Barkson  wound  up  &  bore  the  bell  as  the  phrase 
is r  39 

By  the  end  of  the  period  the  forensic  dispute  was  adversely  Criticized 
9BJ2&J^#tfs  which  have  always  demanded  careful  supervision  and 
restraint.  Macpherson  noted  that  in  disputes,  as  in  oratory,  some  stu- 
dents were  unwilling  to  make  adequate  preparation  and  eitBef "hrfrio 
obtain  help  to  prepare  a  speech  or  spoke  with  superficial  knowledge. 
The  second  fault  was  that,  especially  in  the  literary  and  debating  socie- 
ties, personal  abuse5  exaggerated  argumentum  ad  absurdum,  and 
ridicule  were  too  often  rif e< 

On  the  whole,  however,  tljgjiorensic  dispute  was  better  adapted  to 
the  variety  of  secular  as  well  as  religious  careers  toward  which  students 
of  the  latter  half  of  the  eighteenth  century  might  look.  Besides  the 
pulpit,  the  courtroom,  the  legislative  hall,  the  town  meeting,  and  the 
stump  claimed  as  much  flexibility,  knowledge  of  current  issues,  and 
skillful  speaking  as  the  best  students  could  learn.  Their  intense  interest 
and  the  approval  of  administrations  and  of  many  leading  alumni  testify 
to  the  wide  acceptance  of  jthe  forensic  dispute  as  a  means  of  training 
leader^  in  the  Colonies  and  the  infant  nation. 


Orators  were  men  of  considerable  honor  in  the  colleges.  Presumably, 
the  curricular  program  prepared  every  man  to  deliver  original  speeches 
as  well  as  declamations  from  other  authors.  In  the  earlier  years,  when 
classes  were  small,  every  student  might  get  a  chance  to  dispute  or 
deliver  an  oration  in  a  public  exercise  and  the  best  were  selected  for 
the  salutatory  or  valedictory  orations  at  commencement  or  for  a  com- 
plimentary oration  at  the  visit  of  a  governor  or  the  inauguration  of  a 
president.  Later,  when  the  orators  were  elected  by  the  senior  class,  as 
at  Harvard,  "there  was  a  great  deal  of  intriguing  carried  on."  40  Whether 
by  the  class  or  the  professors,  the  choice  was  announced  some  weeks 
before  the  oration  was  to  be  delivered.  Benjamin  Wadsworth's  Book 
recorded  notices  sent  between  March  14  and  April  15  for  late  June 
commencements.  At  Princeton,  Witherspoon  required  that  speeches  be 
submitted  to  him  for  correction  and  approval  at  least  four  weeks  before 
the  exercises. 

If  orations  generally  were  of  the  lengths  of  those  preserved  or  whose 
times  were  recorded,  they  ranged  from  about  seven  to  twenty-five 


minutes  long.  Some  early  Latin  orations  may  have  been  longer.41  Many 
of  the  publicly  delivered  orations  must  have  been  developed  and  first 
delivered  in  the  routine  classroom  exercises.  Yet,  some  young  men 
found  the  task  o£  composition  onerous.  In  a  letter  to  William  Paterson, 
an  alumnus,  student  Edward  Graham  wrote: 

I  was  told  to  entreat  your  assistance  in  my  favor,  to  prepare  me  for  my  last 
public  speaking  in  college  the  next  commencement.  On  all  occasions  hitherto 
I  have  made  a  trial  of  my  own  abilities  with  a  view  to  my  own  improve- 
ment. . .  . 

The  present  Senior  class  in  college  of  which  I  am  a  member  consists  of 
about  thirty,  amongst  whom  are  several  excellent  speakers  who  I  suppose  will 
take  all  possible  methods  to  make  an  appearance  in  the  fall  to  the  greatest 
advantage— if  it  were  supposed  that  to  do  this  they  relied  only  upon  their  own 
Study  and  ingenuity  I  should  consider  it  my  interest  and  exert  my  powers  to 
be  on  a  level  with  them.  But  as  it  is  known  that  they  depend  for  the  most 
part  on  the  assistance  of  their  friends  of  greater  experience  and  abilities  for 
their  commencement  orations  there  is  but  little  encouragement  for  one  alone 
to  strive. .  . . 

Graham  must  have  asked  for  a  complete  text  from  Paterson,  for  he 
added:  "If  so  if  I  should  receive  one  time  enough  to  commit  well  to 
memory  and  exercise  myself  well  in  it,  it  will  do."  42 

Contemporary  accounts  provide  some  general  criticism  of  the  pub- 
licly delivered  orations.  Holyoke  referred  to  a  series  of  Harvard  valedic- 
tory orations  as  "tolerable/'  performed  "pretty  well/'  "indifferently  both 
as  to  Speech  &  Action/'  and  "well."  The  Pennsylvania  Gazette  charac- 
terized the  delivery  of  orations  at  King's  College,  May  18,  1773  as  "ele- 
gant," "delivered  with  great  propriety/'  "with  more  propriety  of  pro- 
nunciation and  gracefulness  of  action/'  "elegant  diction . . .  received 
with  much  applause/'  and  "with  earnestness  and  warmth,  which  never 
fail  to  interest  the  passions  of  the  hearer."  In  1762,  the  same  newspaper 
had  chiefly  referred  to  elegance,  graceful  ease,  and  propriety  of  the 
orations  at  the  commencement  of  the  College  of  New  Jersey.  Two  years 
earlier,  the  Gazette  had  mentioned  the  "very  sprightly  and  entertaining 
Manner"  in  which  Benjamin  Rush  delivered  "an  ingenious  English 
harangue  in  Praise  of  Oratory."  At  1768?  at  Princeton,  William  Paterson 
remarked  that  "although  the  bulk  of  the  young  men  made  a  handsom 
appearance,  yet  some  really  fell  short  of  the  expectations  of  their 
friends."  Regarding  the  commencement  of  the  College  of  Philadelphia 
in  1767,  John  Macpherson  wrote: 

After  prayer,  Bankson  pronounced  a  Salutatory  Oration.  This  was  one  of 
the  best  performances  of  the  day.  The  Latin  was  well  articulated,  &  but  for 
the  tone  that  ran  through  the  whole  pronunciation,  it  was  very  compleat. . . . 
White,  a  master  of  arts  then  pronounced  an  Oration.  I  forbear  to  give  any 
character  of  this,  you  will  I  dare  say  see  one  in  the  papers;  but  (if  as  usual) 
it  will  be  far  above  the  merit  of  the  piece. 


In  the  1780's,  Chastellux  heard  the  orations  at  Philadelphia  and  com- 
mented: "Some  excellent  declamations  were  made  in  Latin  and  in  Eng- 
lish, by  no  means  inferior  to  those  I  have  heard  at  Oxford  and  Cam- 
bridge. Their  compositions  in  general  were  elegant,  and  their  elocution 
easy,  dignified,  and  manly. . . ."  Chiefly,  however,  Chastellux  was  im- 
pressed that  "whatever  the  subject,  the  great  cause  of  liberty  and  their 
country  was  never  lost  sight  of,  nor  their  abhorrence  of  the  tyranny  of 
Great  Britain."  43 

Obviously,  despite  regulations  to  encourage  early  preparation  and 
careful  practice  in  the  delivery  of  orations,  their  quality  varied  widely. 
At  times,  perhaps  more  in  some  colleges  and  under  some  professors 
and  tutors  than  others,  Jhe:^^ 

flowery, ,j^^^^^M^^h^^^y.  The  compliments  which  were  tradi- 
tional in  salutatory,  gratulatory,  and  valedictory  orations  required  some 
passages  with  these  characteristics.  The  exhibitory  nature  of  commence- 
ments and  other  public  occasions  and,  particularly  the  stimulus  which 
the  successful  end  of  the  Revolution  gave  orators  of  the  1780's  to  praise 
victory,  liberty,  military  heroes,  and  the  future  of  the  United  States, 
were  added  factors  which  encouraged  an  exaggerated  style.  A  Dart- 
mouth orator  professed,  in  keeping  with  his  reading  of  the  less  sophistic 
classic  writers,  that  he  had  "not  affected  a  florid  style,  or  the  Beauties 
of  Composition,  but  to  communicate  his  Sentiments  with  the  greatest 
Simplicity  and  Plainness."  Yet  he  included  such  passages  as  these: 

Just  to  address  you  on  this  final  day,  that  like  a  veil  shuts  up  our  most 
pleasant  scenes. 

But  to  sum  up  all,  education  softens  the  rough  and  savage  passions  of  the 
mind  that  are  wild  by  nature,  smoothes  the  boisterous  and  foaming  seas  of 
unbridled  lust  and  ambition,  melts  the  obdurate  and  unrelenting  heart  into 
compassion;  adds  sweetness  to  the  bands  of  society;  extends  and  brightens 
the  rational  faculties  of  the  human  soul .  . .  even  next  to  that  which  is  heav- 
enly and  divine. 

Now  to  conclude  in  a  word.  How  happy  will  be  the  consequences  should 
America,  while  shaded  with  the  balmy  wings  of  freedom,  cultivate  and  pro- 
mote education.  For  a  long  time  she  has  been  drenched  with  scenes  of  blood. 
But  do  not  the  lamps  of  night  begin  to  disappear  before  Aurora's  blush?  The 
auspicious  morn  begins  to  gild  the  western  hills  with  its  golden  rays,  and 
cheer  the  hearts  of  freedom's  sons  with  the  rising  beams  of  a  peaceful  day? 
Therefore,  O  Americans!  let  your  hands  be  strong,  your  influence  to  cultivate 
education;  may  your  troubles  come  to  a  speedy  end,  and  this  land  be  the 
grand  theatre,  where  the  blessed  Redeemer  shall  make  peculiar  displays  of 
this  latter  day  glory.44 

The  salutatory  oration  by  Sylvanus  Ripley,  Dartmouth  1771,  con- 
tained similar  figures,  alliteration,  and  parallelisms,  arid  was  written  in 
a  strained,  amplified,  exalted  style,  as  these  passages  suggest: 


As  the  welcome  Approach  of  friendly  Citizens  to  the  cavern'd  Hermit;  or 
gradual  dawn  of  rosy  Morning  to  the  bewilder'd  Traveller;  so  is  this  pleasant 
arrival  of  the  Venerable  Literate  to  this  solitary  Seat  of  the  Muses. 

But  without  Learning,  Benevolence  looks  like  a  Diamond  rough  in  the 
mind  that  can't  display  itself  to  Advantage. 

Early  in  the  Infancy  of  Time  Learning  began  to  dawn  in  the  Eastern 
World,  &  afterwards  gradually  shone  around,  to  charm  the  Circle  of  the  in- 
habited world  with  new-born  Rays. 

No  sooner  is  the  Happy  Stranger  arriv'd  on  their  Coasts,  than  Oratory 
breaks  forth  from  the  shades  of  Ignorance  &  the  Charms  of  Poetry  and  polite 
Literature  grace  the  barren  mount  of  Parnassus.45 

From  the  standpoint  of  a  critic  who  is  familiar  with  the  long  history 
of  rhetoric  since  Corax,  Ripley's  style  will  be  considered  exaggerated 
and  fulsome,  his  preparation  probably  as  hasty  and  insufficient  as  that 
of  many  students  through  the  centuries.  Ripley's  Dartmouth  mentors 
doubtless  applauded  his  style  as  close  to  the  accepted  taste  for  this 
kind  of  commencement  oration.  In  perspective,  Ripley's  style  is  simply 
less  mature,  less  smooth,  less  tempered  by  experience  than  the  labored, 
published  effort  of  Dartmouth's  later  son,  Webster,  in  the  peroration 
of  the  "Reply  to  Hayne." 

In  seeking  to  teach  the  major  rhetorical  skills,  the  Colonial  college 
probably  found  no  more  effective  form  than  the  oration.  Rameans  and 
Aristotelians  alike  seemed  to  regard  it  highly.  Under  diligent  tutors  and 
professors,  orations  were  closely  supervised  during  preparation,  revised 
to  improve  content,  arrangement,  and  style,  and  polished  in  delivery. 
They  were  spoken  in  whatever  languages  prevailed  in  academic  life. 
In  these  ongioal  speeches,  students  were  generally  fr$e  to  discuss  cur- 
rent pu^Jloas  well  as  a^ardeffilc" issues  and  to  project  their  thinking  itnd 
talking  in  directions  which  they  could  follow  afterwards  in  the  ministry, 
law,  and  politics.  These  advantages,  coupled  with  the  usefulness  of 
oifertitifts  in  competitions  and  their  appeal  to  public  audiences,  account 
for  the  continued  popularity  of  the  oratorical  form  in  the  curriculum, 
thelftkrary*  societies,  and  for  public  acadeihic  occasions. 

Literary  and  Debating  Societies 

Primarily,  the^Jfterary  and  debating  societies  which  flourished,  though 
often  briefly  and  sporaclicalTy  Ih/tlxe  American  cdTKgeS'  'i&^^^^^^t 
thffe-quarters  of  the  eighteenth  century,  offered  additional  opportuni- 
ties to  dlsp^fe,  d^elaJta,  ami  ddi¥^  original  speeches.  Competition 
both  within  the  societies  and  between  rivals  on  the  same  campus 
whetted  the  enthusiasm  of  speakers.  To  improve  the  quality  of  speak- 


ing,  largely  for  more  effective  competition  it  seems,  "correctors  of 
speaking"  and  "correctors  of  composition"  were  sometimes  elected.  In 
later  years,  dialogues,  dramatic  performances,  and  the  reading  aloud 
of  essays  and  narrations  were  also  included  in  society  programs. 

The  chief  additions  to  the  kinds  of  rhetorical  fare  which  the  societies 
offered  college  students,  however,  were  extempore  and  impromptu 
speeches.  Nowhere  else  in  the  colleges  was  there  occasion  for  such  vigor- 
ous parliamentary  practice  as  in  the  business  sessions  of  the  societies. 
Then,  besides  the  scheduled  disputations,  which  tended  to  be  a  series 
of  carefully  planned  and  written  speeches  with  comparatively  little 
adaptation  to  immediately  preceding  arguments,  particularly  when  the 
participants  were  less  experienced  members,  societies  occasionally  held 
extempore  disputes  in  which  the  rather  scant  evidence  indicates  more 
lively  give-and-take.46  In  the  1790's,  at  the  College  of  New  Jersey, 
society  debates  were  of  a  parliamentary  nature,  in  which  each  member 
was  permitted  a  speech  with  no  time  limit  in  whatever  order  he  chose 
to  speak,  with  a  possibility  of  second  and  third  speeches  of  not  more  than 
ten  minutes.47 

Hence,  generally,  it  may  be  argued  that  although  social  interests  and 
intersociety  rivalry  seem  to  have  dominated  the  societies,  they  stimu- 
lated much  more  speaking  than  the  curriculum  provided  and  gave  some 
impetus  to  extemporaneous  and  impromptu  debate  and  to  parliamen- 
tary practice.48 


1.  Writings,  ed.  W.  C.  Ford  (New  York,  1913),  I,  25.  He  added  to  the  letter  a 
request  for  Blair's  Lectures  in  octavo. 

2.  Ezra  Stiles,  Literary  Diary  (New  York,  1901),  III,  184. 

3.  R.  A.  Guild,  History  of  Brown  University  (Providence,  1867),  pp.  348  ff. 

4.  Stiles,  Diary,  III,  119. 

5.  Stiles,  Diary,  III,  11,  March  13,  1782.  Cf.  poem  by  Joel  Barlow,  A  Prospect 
•for  Peace  (New  Haven,  1778),  12pp.,  delivered  at  the  Yale  examination  of  that 

6.  John  MacLean,  History  of  the  College  of  'New  Jersey  ( Philadelphia,  1877 ) , 
I,  312,  363;  Pennsylvania  Gazette,  October  13,  1773;  Pennsylvania  Journal,  Octo- 
ber 12,  1774;  C.  M.  Newlin,  Life  and  Writings  of  H.  H.  Brackenridge  (Princeton, 
1932),  p.  9. 

7.  Stiles,  Diary,  II,  438;  III,  11,  80,  130.  "A  Young  Man  s  Journal,"  New  Haven 
Colony  Historical  Society  Proceedings,  IV,  entry  of  March  10,  1784.  Stiles,  Diary, 
III,  11,  March  13,  1782  and  other  dates  noted,  with  some  variations  in  punctuation 
to  clarify  the  items. 

8.  E.g.,  published  pamphlets  by  Samuel  Nott  (1778),  Samuel  Austin  (1782), 
Joseph  Demson  (1782),  and  Reuben  Hitchcock  (1786). 

9.  Stiles,  Diary,  II,  277. 

10.  Publications  of  the  Colonial  Society  of  Massachusetts,  XVI,  565,  711;  Josiah 
Quincy,  History  of  Harvard  University  (Boston,  1860),  II,  87  ff,  155;  MacLean, 
op.  cit.y  I,  215-216. 

11.  William  and  Mary  Quarterly,  2d  series,  VIII,  295,  August  1,  1780. 


12.  Writings,  I,  21. 

13.  Stiles,  Diary,  III,  99. 

14.  Ota  Thomas,  "The  Theory  and  Practice  of  Disputation  at  Yale,  Harvard,  and 
Dartmouth,  from  1750  to  1800,"  unpublished  Ph  D.  dissertation,  State  University 
of  Iowa,  1941;  S.  E.  Morison,  Three  Centuries  of  Harvard  (Cambridge,  1936),  pp. 
138  ff,  180;  WMQ,  IV,  213-260,  "The  Original  Records  of  the  Phi  Beta  Kappa 
Society";  Stiles,  Diary,  II,  527,  Apiil  4,  1781;  WMQ,  VI,  183. 

15.  Karl  R.  Wallace,  "Rhetorical  Exercises  in  Early  Tudor  Education,"  Quar- 
terly Journal  of  Speech,  XXII  (1936),  44-51;  Colyer  Meriwether,  Our  Colonial 
Curriculum  1607-1776  (Washington,  1907),  pp.  226 ff;  S.  E.  Morison,  Harvard 
College  in  the  Seventeenth  Century  (Cambridge,  1936),  I,  141  ff. 

16.  PCSM,  XV,  25,  Laws  of  1642-46;  ibid.,  XXXI,  333,  laws  of  1655,  Morison, 
Harvard  College,  I,  141. 

17.  Morison,  Harvard  College,  I,  179-185;  including  contrasting  texts  by  Michael 
Wigglesworth  and  Joseph  Belcher. 

18.  Morison,  Harvard  College,  I,  140-141.  Barrett  Wendell,   Cotton  Mather, 
Puritan  Priest  (Cambridge,  1926),  p.  36,  quoting  Paterna;  "For  my  Declamations 
I  ordinarily  took  some  Article  of  Natural  Philosophy  for  my  subjects,  by  which  con- 
trivances I  did  kill  two  biids  with  one  Stone/'  David  Potter,  Debating  in,  the  Colo- 
nial Chartered  Colleges  (New  York,  1944),  p.  5n.  Quincy,  op.  cit,,  II,  Appendix 
xv,  lists  mulcts  or  fines  for  failure  to  perform  rhetorical  exercises :  not  exceeding  1/6 
for  not  declaiming,  1/6  for  bachelors  neglecting  disputes,  3/  for  respondents  neg- 
lecting. These  weie  modified  after  1761. 

19.  Morison,  Harvard  College,  I,  465  ff. 

20.  Cf.  Elaine  Pagel,  "The  Theory  and  Practice  of  Disputation  at  Princeton, 
Columbia,  and  the  University  of  Pennsylvania  from  1750  to  1800,"  unpublished 
Ph.D.  dissertation,  State  University  of  Iowa,  1943,  pp.  35-36  and  150  ff.  Forensic 
disputations  appear  to  have  been  about  equally  used  from  the  first  at  King's.  Evi- 
dence is  poor  on  early  practices  at  William  and  Mary.  Minor  changes  occurred  in 
the  Harvard  laws  of  1723. 

21.  MacLean,  op.  cit.,  I,  266-267,  quoting  Finley's  "An  Account  of  the  College 
of  New  Jersey"  (1764),  pp.  23-30. 

22.  Cf.  studies  of  Potter,  Pagcl,  and  Thomas  as  well  as  the  histories  of  the  early 

23.  Writings,  ed.  A.  H.  Smyth  (New  York,  1905-1907),  III,  29. 

24.  Ibid.,  II,  386-396. 

25.  Quincy,  op.  cit.,  II,  124,  127,  129,  132.  The  laws  of  1767  earned  similar 
provisions.  "Harvard  College  Records,"  PCSM,  XXXI,  352-353,  section  VII:  "All 
the  Classes  shall  attend  with  their  respective  Tutors  on  Saturday  Mornings  for 
Instruction  in  Theology,  Elocution,  Composition,  Rhetoric  &  Belles  Lettres/*  The 
semiannual  exhibitions  before  the  Overseers  were  abandoned  in  1781  for  quarterly 
exercises  before  the  "President,  Professors,  Tutors." 

26.  MacLean,  op.  cit.,  I,  362. 

27.  Pagel,  op.  cit.,  pp.  88-108. 

28.  Guild,  op.  cit.,  p.  345;  Potter,  op.  cit.,  p.  36. 

29.  IWd.,p.36. 

30.  Potter,  op.  cit.,  pp.  66-67;  Pagel,  op.  cit.,  pp.  108-125. 

31.  Testimony  Against  the  Prophaneness  of  Some  of  the  Public  Disputes  (Bos- 
ton, 1760). 

32.  Potter,  op.  cit.,  p.  29,  from  the  "Student  Diary  of  John  Quincy  Adams"  in 
Henry  Adams,  Historical  Essays,  p.  113,  May  23,  1786,  and  J.  Q.  Adams,  Writings, 
I,  24,  June  14,  1786. 

33.  MacLean,  op.  cit.,  pp.  253  ff;  Pennsylvania  Gazette,  October  21,  1762; 
Pennsylvania  Magazine  of  History  and  Biography,  XXIII,  53. 

34.  For  these  criticisms  in  greater  detail,  see  Potter,  pp.  29-32,  and  the  disser- 
tations of  Ota  Thomas  and  Elaine  Pagel,  cited  above. 

35.  Cf.  Potter,  op.  cit.f  pp.  43-47,  for  these  and  other  samples  of  forensic  theses. 


36.  Rhode  Island  Historical  Society  Collections,  VII,  281-288. 

37.  Pamphlet  (Boston,  1773).  The  text,  pp.  3-48,  suggests  either  a  long  debate 
or  speeches  amplified  for  publication. 

38.  Cf.  Stiles,  Diary,  for  various  dates,  1779-1785. 

39.  MacLean,  op.  cit.,  I,  216-217;  PMHB,  XXIII,  53. 

40.  J.  Q.  Adams,  Writings,  I,  27. 

41.  See  also  Stiles*  timing  of  commencements. 

42.  W.  J.  Mills,  Glimpses  of  Colonial  Society  (Philadelphia,  1903),  pp.  156-159. 
Also  note  an  essay  promised  in  a  letter  of  1769  to  John  Davenport  at  Princeton,  and 
a  letter  of  Paterson  to  Aaron  Burr,  1772:  "Be  pleased  to  accept  of  the  inclosed  Essay 
on  Dancing;  if  you  pitch  upon  it  as  the  subject  of  your  next  discourse,  it  may  per- 
haps furnish  you  with  a  few  hints,  and  enable  you  to  compose  it  with  more  facility 
and  dispatch."  American  Antiquarian  Society  Proceedings,  XXIX,  54. 

43.  Holyoke  Diaries  1709-1856  (Salem,  1911),  June  27,  1766;  June  29,  1765; 
July  5,  1767;  July  1,  1768.  Pennsylvania  Gazette,  May  26,  1773,  October  21,  1762; 
MacLean,  op.  cit.,  I,  253  ff;  Mills,  op.  cit.,  p.  60,  November  16,  1768;  Chastellux, 
Travels  in  North  America  (London,  1787),  I,  229.  Congress,  the  French  Minister, 
and  Pennsylvania  officials  were  also  present.  PMHB,  XXIII,  53,  November  17,  1767. 

44.  An  Oration  on  Early  Education  (Dresden,  1779).  Spoken  by  Samuel  Wood, 
who  later  helped  prepare  Daniel  Webster  for  Dartmouth  College. 

45.  Manuscript,  Dartmouth  College  Archives,  August  28,  1771. 

46.  Cf.  Yale  Fellowship  Club,  1766;  Linonia  at  Yale,  1783,  Phi  Beta  Kappa, 
Dartmouth,  1781;  and  Potter,  op.  cit.,  pp.  71-74. 

47.  Pagel,  op.  cit.,  pp.  115-117. 

48.  Yale,  Dartmouth,  College  of  New  Jersey,  and  Harvard  had  developed  the 
stronger  societies  by  the  end  of  this  period. 

T:     English  Sources  of  Rhetorical  Theory  in 
Nineteenth-Century  America 


English  theory  thoroughly  permeated  instruction  in  public  address 
in  American  colleges  and  universities  during  the  nineteenth  century. 
And  the  English  treatises  that  dominated  the  field  were  those  of  John 
Ward,  George  Campbell,  Hugh  Blair,  and  Richard  Whately.1  This 
paper,  therefore,  will  review  and  compare  the  theories  of  these  giants 
of  the  English  scene,  and,  in  order  to  present  a  complete  picture  of 
trends,  will  introduce  comment  concerning  other  not-to-be-neglected 
English  writers. 

General  Perspective 

Whereas  the  Ramean  rhetoric  of  style  and  delivery  had  been  favored 
in  early  American  instruction,2  the  English  theories  that  controlled  the 
classrooms  in  the  nineteenth  century  were  classical  in  basic  tendency. 
However,  tfie  intellectual  controversies  and  achievements  of  the  early 
modern  age  modified  classical  rhetoric  in  directions  that  cut  deeply  into 
American  thought. 

Ward's  System  of  Oratory 

John  WajxTs, 3  §ystem  of  Oratory ^  is ^^  rep/esentative  of  one  cujrcent  of 
English  theory  that  is  exclusively  classical  in  tendency.4  Published 
posthumously  in  1759,  it  is  an  863  page,  two  volume,  simplified,  repeti- 
tion of  classical  tenets.  Pol  theory,  Wardle^ns  JHQ§f  heavily  upon  Quin- 
tilian;  i or  ffiustetion,  he  depends  very  largely  wpOti  Cfetex  tie  cfevotes 
one  lecture  to  a  review  of  the  origin  and  development  of  rhetoric,  one 
to  the  nature  of  oratory,  one  to  the  divisions  of  oratory,  eight  to  inven- 
tion, eight  to  disposition,  twenty-seven  to  elocution  ( including  three  on 
the  subject  of  history),  five  to  pronunciation,  and  three  to  the  things 



(nature,  art,  and  practice)  necessary  to  develop  skill  in  oratory.  Possibly 
George  Campbell  was  thinking  of  the  System  when  he  complained  that 
theories  of  rhetoric  published  up  to  his  time  were  only  the  observations 
of  classical  writers  "put  into  a  modish  dress  and  new  arrangement" 

Ward  gathers  in  the  thinking  of  both  Cicero  and  Quintilian  when  he 
defines  oratory  as  "the  art  of  speaking  well  upon  any  subject  in  order 
to  persuade." 5  To  speak  well,  the  orator  must  speak  justly,  method- 
ically, floridly,  and  copiously.6  And,  although  the  principal  aim  of  ora- 
tory is  to  persuade,  the  speaker  often  attempts,  as  subordinate  objective, 
to  delight  and  conciliate.7  He  limits  the  parts  of  oratory  to  invention, 
disposition,  elocution,  and  pronunciation,  including  memory  under  pro- 
nunciation "to  which  it  seems  most  properly  to  relate."  8 

Campbell's  Philosophy  of  Rhetoric  and  Lectures  on 
Pulpit  Eloquence 

To  George  Campbell 9  we  are  indebted  for  two  treatises,  his  Philoso- 
phy of  Rhetdric^  published  in  1776,  an^  his  work  on  homiletics  pub- 
lished posthumously  (1807)  as  the  last  twelve  chapters  of  Lectures  on 
Systematic  Theology  and  Pulpit  Eloquence.  Possibly  because  it  de- 
mands rigorous  scholarship,  the  Philosophy  was  less  popular  in  Ameri- 
can colleges  than  Blair's  Lectures.10  The  work  on  pulpit  eloquence  went 
through  many  editions,  but  we  have  no  exact  account  of  places  or  fre- 
quency of  use  in  America. 

Both  treatises  must  be  studied  in  order  to  obtain  a  complete  view  of 
the  theories  advanced  by  this  Presbyterian  divine.11  They  are  written 
with  different  aims  in  view.  The  ^Philosophy  attempts  to  ascertain  "the 
radical  principles  of  that  art,  whose  object  itis,  by , the  .use  o£  language, 
to  operate  upon  tho  soul  of  the  hearer."  12  It  is  perhaps  one  of  the  most 
penetrating  examinations  of  the  psychological,  epistemological,  philo- 
sophical, and  literary  bases  of  rhetoric  that  has  been  produced  in  the 
long  and  proud  history  of  the  discipline,  and  was  evaluated  by  Richard 
Whately  as  a  work  that  is  "incomparably  superior"  to  that  of  Dr.  Blair, 
"not  only  in  depth  of  thought  and  ingenious  original  research,  but  also 
in  practical  utility  to  the  student/' 13  The  volume  on  homiletics  is,  essen- 
tially, a  handbook  for  the  preacher  who,  with  little  training  in  public 
address,  must  officiate  acceptably  in  the  pulpit.  Neither  book  attempts 
to  provide  "a  full' institute  of  rhetoric." 

Campbell's  definition  of  eloquence  as  "that  art  or  talent,  whereby  the 
speech  is  adapted  to  produce,  in  the  hearer  the  great  end  which  the 
speaker  has,  or  at  least  ought  to  have  principally  in  view"  is  stated  in 
almost  identical  terminology  in  both  works.  So  is  his  explanation  of  the 
ends  of  eloquence,  which  departs  so  definitely  from  classical  concept 


and  has  had  such  permanent  impact  upon  modern  theories  of  rhetoric. 

From  this  essential  starting  point,  each  treatise  moves  in  the  direc- 
tion of  its  particular  objective.  The  Philosophy  penetrates  deeply  into 
the  nature  of  wit,  humoi*,  and  ridicule,  into  the  sources  of  evidence,  into 
a  consideration  of  audience,  into  an  examination  of  the  differences  in 
orations  delivered  at  the  bar,  in  the  senate,  and  from  the  pulpit,  and 
into  the  nature  of  language  and  its  use  in  rhetoric.  The  Lectures  are 
devoted  primarily  to  lessons  in  pronunciation,  elocution,  and  disposi- 
tion.14 And,  because  he  believes  that  disposition  is  intimately  connected 
with  the  intent  of  a  speech,  Campbell  gives  us,  in  the  Lectures,  a  much 
more  complete  explanation  of  the  ends  of  eloquence  than  is  found  in 
the  Philosophy.  Any  given  speech  has,  as  its  ultimate  aim,  one  of  four 
objectives:  to  enlighten  the  understanding,  to  please  the  imagination, 
to  move  the  passions,  or  to  influence  the  will.  The  understanding  is 
reached  either  by  a  speech  to  inf orni  or  a  speech  to  convince.  The  imagi- 
nation is  stimulated  by  discourse  which  exhibits  "a  lively  and  beautiful 
representation  of  a  suitable  object."  The  passions  are  moved  by  address 
which  stimulates  emotion  or  desire.  The  will  is  influenced  by  speech 
which  concurrently  moves  the  passions  and  directs  these  passions  by 
means  of  rational  appeals. 

Unquestionably  Campbell's  analysis  was  influenced  by  the  practical, 
epistemological,  inductive  character  of  seventeenth  and  eighteenth  cen- 
tury English  philosophical  thought.  Undoubtedly  the  inspiration  for 
his  orientation  of  rhetoric  toward  a  "science  of  human  nature"  and  his 
itemization  of  the  ends  of  eloquence  is  to  be  found  in  works  of  Lord 
Kames,15  Francis  Bacon,16  John  Locke,17  and  David  Hume.18 

Blair's  Lectures  on  Rhetoric  and  Belles  Lettres 

In  1783,  after  almost  a  quarter-century  of  oral  presentation,  Hugh 
Blair  published  his  smooth-flowing  Le$ttire$  on  Rhetoric  and  Belles 
Lettres.^  Instantly  popular  in  American  colleges,  the  treatise  is  repre- 
sentative of  the  belles  l^ttristjc-critical  current  of  English  theory.20 

In  his  preface,  Blair  expresses  the  hope  that  the  Lectures  will  provide 
a  comprehensive  work  for  those  who  "are  studying  to  cultivate  their 
taste,  to  form  their  style,  or  to  prepare  themselves  for  publie  speaking 
or,  opposition.** 21  In  line  with  these  aims,  he  provides  the  reader  with 
four  disquisitions  on  taste,  two  on  the  rise  and  progress  of  language, 
two  on  the  structure  of  language,  fifteen  on  style,  eleven  on  eloquence, 
one  each  on  historical  and  philosophical  writing,  eight  on  poetry,  and 
one  each  on  tragedy  and  comedy. 

In  typical  pedagogical  fashion,  Blair  reviews  the  benefits  of  study 
of  rhetoric  and  bettes  lettres.  The  individual  who  desires  to  improve  his 


eloquence  is  told  that  the  rules  of  rhetoric  will  "assist  genius/'  strengthen 
accuracy  of  thought,  correct  slovenly  expression,  and  help  in  "distin- 
guishing false  ornament  from  true."  The  individual  who  does  not  intend 
to  speak  in  public  is  told  that  the  principles  of  belles  lettres  teach  us 

"tnjujrmVft  ar^  fp  hlflm^Ljma'fh  jnrigmnni- "  Attention  to  this  "speculative 

science"  improves  our  knowledge  of  human  nature,  exercises  our  rea- 
son without  tiring  it,  provides  employment  for  leisure  time,  refreshes  the 
mind  after  the  "labor  of  abstract  study,"  raises  the  mind  "above  the 
attachments  of  sense,"  increases  sensibility  "to  all  of  the  tender  and 
humane  passions,"  weakens  the  more  violent  and  fierce  emotions,  "dis- 
poses the  heart  to  virtue,"  and  furnishes  material  for  "fashionable  topics 
of  discourse."  22 

In  spite  of  this  deflection  of  rhetoric  in  the  direction  of  fine  literature, 
Blair  holds  to  a  solid  and  defensible  philosophy  of  the  subject.  If  these 
lectures  have  any  merit,  he  says,  "it  will  consist  in  an  endeavor  to  substi- 
tute the  application  of  these  principles  in  the  place  of  artificial  and 
scholastic  rhetoric;  in  an  endeavor  to  explode  false  ornament,  to  direct 
attention  more  towards  substance  than  show,  to  recommend  good  sense 
as  the  foundation  of  all  good  composition,  and  simplicity  as  essential  to 
all  true  ornament."  23  Moreover,  he  follows  Campbell's  lead  in  expand- 
ing the  scope  of  rhetoric.  "To  be  truly  eloquent  is  to  speak  to  the  pur- 
pose. . . .  Whenever  a  man  speaks  or  writes,  he  is  supposed,  as  a  rational 
being,  to  have  some  end  in  view;  either  to  inform,  or  to  amuse,  or  to 
persuade,  or,  in  some  other  way  to  act  upon  his  fellow  creatures."  The 
lowest  degree  of  eloquence  is  that  which  aims  only  at  pleasing  the 
hearers.  A  somewhat  higher  degree  of  eloquence  is  that  through  which 
the  speaker  attempts,  not  only  to  please,  but  to  inform,  to  instruct,  to 
convince.  The  highest  degree  of  eloquence  is  that  used  to  influence 
conduct  and  persuade  to  action.24 

Whatelys  Elements  of  Logic  and  Essentials  of  Rhetoric 

For  tl|e  purpose  of  this  study  we  are  primarily  concerned  with  two  of 
Richard  Whately's  ninety-seven  published  works,  his  Elements  of  Logic 
(1826)  and  his  Elements  of  Rhetoric  (1828).25  Undoubtedly  Whately 
considered  them  companion  volumes;  each  contains  numerous  cross 
references  to  the  other,  and  the  Rhetoric,  in  the  section  on  refutation, 
refers  the  reader  to  the  Logic  for  a  discussion  of  fallacies. 


<**ii|wwi!i«fi«E«»w8ii<  *  *"  O  o  J.  o 

a^^^Giic  respectability /But  he  was  deeply  indebted  to  Edward  Copies- 
ton,  his  undergraduate  tutor  at  Oriel  College,  Oxford,  for  many  of  his 
ideas  about  it.  This  indebtedness  he  freely  acknowledges  in  the  dedica- 


tory  and  prefatoiy  pages  of  the  Logic  before  providing  the  reader  in 
Book  I  with  an  "Analytical  Outline  of  the  Science/'  in  Book  II  with  a 
"Synthetical  Compendium"  of  principles,  in  Book  III  with  an  explana- 
tion "of  fallacies/'  in  Book  IV  with  a  "Dissertation  on  the  Province  of 
Reasoning/'  and,  in  the  Appendix,  with  one  of  the  very  best  tracts  ever 
written  "On  Certain  Terms  Which  Are  Peculiarly  Liable  to  be  Used 
Ambiguously."  2G 

Although  probably  less  renowned  for  his  Rhetoric  than  for  his  Logic, 
Whately  is  largely  responsible  for  initiating  that  trend  of  theory  which 
'moved  rapidly  in  the  direction  of  a  rhetoric  of  argumentation  and 
debate.  His  stated  objective  is  to  treat  of  "argumentative  composition, 
generally  and  exclusively?  However,  his  "middle  ground"  becomes 
quite  broad  and  he  produces  a  text  which  interprets  rhetoric  as  the  art 
of  speaking  to  instruct,  to  convince,  and  to  persuade.  Part  I  is  devoted 
to  a  consideration  "Of  the  Address  to  the  Understanding,  With  a  View 
to  Produce  Conviction  (Including  Instruction)/'  Part  II  is  concerned 
with  an  examination  "Of  The  Address  to  the  Will,  or  Persuasion/'  Part 
III  considers  "Style/'  and  Part  IV  philosophizes  upon  "Elocution  or 

Whately  felt  a  need  to  mitigate  prejudice  against  instruction  in 
rhetoric  and,  in  the  course  of  his  effort,  offers  some  excellent  advice 
concerning  the  teaching  of  ^speech.  Reasoning  that  prejudice  stems  from 
observation  of  the  cramped  efforts  of  learners,  he  recommends  four 
policies:  first,  that  topics  for  speaking  be  drawn  from  the  studies  in  which 
the  learner  is  engaged,  from  the  content  of  conversations  to  which  the 
student  has  listened  with  interest,  and  from  the  student's  every-day 
activities;  secondly,  that  the  rules  inculcated  be  based  upon  broad 
philosophical  principles;  third,  that  sedulous  care  be  taken  in  correc- 
tion; and  fourth,  that  the  teacher  offer  continuous  encouragement. 
Strangely,  he  considers  debating  societies  more  harmful  than  beneficial 
because  "students  are  apt,  when  prematurely  hurried  into  a  habit  of 
fluent  elocution,  to  retain  through  life  a  careless  facility  of  pouring  forth 
ill-digested  thoughts  in  well-turned  phrases,  and  an  aversion  to  cautious 
reflection."  27 

There  is  no  mistaking  the  fact  that  the  Rhetoric  is  the  product  of  a 
theologian  who  was  much  involved  in  the  religious  controversy  of  his 
time.  In  it  one  finds  not  only  indications  of  a  practical  view  of  Chris- 
tianity but  the  mark  of  a  divine  who  would  fight  the  Rationalists  with 
their  own  weaponsfTnus  the  Rhetoric.,  at  times,  seems  to  be  overly  con- 
cerned with  techniques  of  defense.  And,  undoubtedly,  Whately's  ex- 
haustive treatment  of  "testimony"  and  his  originality  in  supplying  us 
with  the  theory  of  "presumption"  and  "burden  of  proof  grew  0ut  of 
his  unceasing  effort  to  clarify  and  defend  Christian  evidences.2 


haps,  too,  this  devotion  not  only  prompted  but  gave  rigidity  to  his 
strange  theory  of  induction. 

Priestley's  Course  of  Lectures  on  Oratory  and 

Joseph  Pjiestley's  A  Course  of  Lectures  on  Oratory  and  Criticism 29 
is  mentioned  because  it  is  an  interesting  attempt  to  utilize  David 
Hartley's  doctrine  of  the  association  of  ideas,  and  because  some 
comment  seems  necessary  in  order  to  complete  the  picture  of  currents 
of  theory  in  later  English  rhetoric.  The  work  had  little  impact  upon 
American  instruction.  And,  although  it  must  not  be  ignored,  it  obviously 
is  the  product  of  restless  intellectual  energy  rather  than  penetrating 
study  of  the  theory  of  rhetoric. 

The  salient  characteristics  of  this  work,  first  published  in  1781,  are 
three:  the  first  is  the  reduction  of  all  composition  to  two  kinds,  narration 
and  argumentation;  the  second  is  the  belief  that  the  principal  objective 
of  every  speaker  is  to  "inform  the  judgment,  and  thereby  direct  the 
practice"  (attempts  to  please  and  to  affect  are  admissible  only  when 
"subservient  to  that  design");  and  the  third  is  the  treatment  of  all  aspects 
of  rhetoric,  aside  from  limited  discussions  of  topica,  techniques  of  am- 
plification, and  methods  of  arrangement,  under  a  broad  concept  of  style. 

Such,  then,  are  the  general  points  of  view  of  the  chief  English  rhetori- 
cians who  were  well  known  to  American  students  and  teachers  of  rheto- 
ric in  the  nineteenth  century.  We  shall  now  compare  their  views  of 
four  of  the  five  divisions  of  classical  rhetoric.  Although  Ward  was  the 
only  writer  among  this  group  of  English  rhetoricians  who  discussed  his 
theory  under  the  classical  divisions  of  inuentio,  dispositio,  elocutio,  and 
pronunciato,  it  seems  wise,  for  the  sake  of  clarity,  to  utilize  this  tradi- 
tional partition  in  this  paper.  Because  major  attention  to  the  classical 
division  of  memoria  virtually  disappeared  in  the  writings  of  these 
theorists,  it  will  be  noticed  only  in  passing. 


All  of  these  writers*  by  implication  or  by  direct  statement,  insist  that 
broad*Sowiedge  and  thorough  command  of  subject  are  tha^Qwces  of 
th|Tmaterials  of  invention.  Blair  calls  for  a  "proper  acquaintance  with 
the  rest  of  tlie  liberal  arts."  Campbell  suggests  that  "everything  that 
serves  to  improve  knowledge,  discernment,  and  good  sense"  is  valuable 
to  the  orator.  Ward  declares  that  "great  learning  and  extensive  knowl- 
edge" as  well  as  "a  lively  imagination"  and  "readiness  of  thought"  are 
of  great  help  in  invention.  Whately  implies  a  similar  point  of  view.30 


Logical  Proof 

Without  exception,  the  English  theorists  agree  about  the  close  rela- 
tionship of  rhetoric  and  logic.  Whately  declares  that  rhetoric  is  an 
"off-shoot  of  logic/'  and  Campbell  insists  that  eloquence  is  "but  a  par- 
ticular application  of  the  logician's  art."  Ward  protests  the  Ramean 
tendency  to  divorce  invention  and  disposition  from  rhetoric,  and  states 
emphatically  that  both  rhetoric  and  logic  teach  us  to  reason  from 
causes,  effects,  circumstances,  etc.,  even  though  there  are,  between  the 
two,  differences  in  aim  as  well  as  in  kinds  of  proofs  used.  Blair  declares 
that  reason  and  argument  are  the  "foundations  of  eloquence."  31 

When  theories  are  compared,  however,  striking  differences  appear  in 
concept  as  well  as  in  approach  to  the  problem  of  disco vering~logical 

Although  Ward  is  sceptical  of  the  worth  of  topoi,  he  suggests  that 
they  may  lessen  the  difficulty  of  finding  arguments.  He  divides  them 
into  internal  and  external  topics,  corresponding  to  Aristotle's  division 
of  proofs  into  artificial  and  inartificial.  From  Quintilian's  list,3-  he 
selects  sixteen  internal  commonplaces.  He  reduces  the  Roman  rhetori- 
cian's list  of  external  commonplaces  to  three  forms  of  "human  testimony 
(writings,  witnesses,  and  contracts),  and  adds,  as  a  major  division, 
divine  testimony  (which  is  "incontestable").33  Also,  he  follows  Quin- 
tilian 34  to  the  letter  in  explaining  the  "conjectural"  state,  the  "definitive" 
state,  and  the  state  of  "quality." 

In  line  with  classical  theory,  Ward  distinguishes  between  the  discov- 
ery of  arguments  and  argumentation.  Consequently,  the  "forms  of  rea- 
soning used  by  orators"  are  considered  in  that  section  of  his  System 
devoted  to  dispositio.  They  are  syllogism,  enthymeme,  induction,  and 
example.  And  it  is  here  that  he  displays  his  greatest  inadequacy.  His  ex- 
planation of  syllogism  is  weak  and  incomplete.  He  believes,  erroneously 
that  the  only  way  that  enthymeme  differs  from  syllogism  is  in  the  omis- 
sion of  one  of  the  premises.35  His  illustrations  of  "induction"  and  his 
explanation  of  "example"  lead  one  to  feel  that,  in  both  cases,  he  is 
thinking  in  terms  of  literal  analogy.  When  he  states,  finally,  that  "the 
whole  induction  or  example  has  the  nature  of  an  enthymeme,"  we  rec- 
ognize that,  had  Ward  been  a  more  penetrating  thinker,  his  theory  of 
argumentation  might  have  resembled  that  of  Richard  Whately. 

Blair  discounts  completely  the  usefulness  of  the  classical  equipment 
for  finding  arguments.  And,  because  he  doubts  if  any  kind  of  explana- 
tion will  be  helpful  to  the  student,  detours  this  particular  aspect  of  the 
theory  of  rhetoric. 

CampbeE,  in  presenting  his  readers  with  a  discussion  of  "logical 
truth"  remains  consistent  with  his  desire  to  trace  the  jnind's  "principal 


channels  of  perception  and  action,  as  near  as  possible,  to  their  source/' 
He  does  not  pretend  to  advance  a  theory  of  logic  as  such.  Perhaps,  as 
Whately  charges,  he  misunderstood  the  real  nature  and  function  of 
logic.  Influenced  by  a  century  of  English  philosophical  thought,  he  was 
very  much  concerned  about  the  sources  of  knowledge.  It  is  worth 
mentioning  that  the  epistemological  approach  to  logical  proof  was  not 
unique  to  Campbell.  Quintilian,  many  centuries  earlier,  had  pointed  out 
that  "unless  there  be  something  which  is  true,  or  what  appears  to  be 
true,  and  from  which  support  may  be  gained  for  what  is  doubtful, 
there  will  be  no  grounds  on  which  we  can  prove  anything."  36 

In  a  bold  statement  that  disavows  the  whole  theory  of  perception 
through  "ideas"  (which  lies  at  the  heart  of  Hume's  scepticism),  and 
aligns  his  thinking  with  that  of  Thomas  Reid,37  Campbell  declares  that 
"logical  truth"  consists  in  "the  conformity  of  our  conceptions  to  their 
archetypes  in  the  nature  of  things."  This  conformity  of  concept  and 
object  is  perceived  either  "intuitively"  upon  bare  attention  or  "deduc- 
tively" by  comparing  related  concepts.  We  arrive  at  "first  truths"  intui- 
tively and  immediately  through  intellection,  consciousness,  and  common 
sense.38  We  know  immediately  through  "intellection"  the  truth  of  such 
propositions  as  "the  whole  is  greater  than  the  part."  We  know  im- 
mediately through  "consciousness"  the  truth  of  the  fact  that  we  exist, 
feel,  think,  and  so  forth.  We  know  immediately  through  "common 
sense"  the  truth  of  statements  like  "whatever  has  a  beginning  has  a 
cause."  We  arrive  at  other  truths  by  a  process  of  reasoning  in  which  we 
compare  intuitive  truth  with  related  perceptions.  These  truths  may  be 
either  demonstrative  (certain)  or  moral  (probable).39  Demonstrative 
truth  is  derived  from  the  "invariable  properties  or  relations  of  general 
ideas."  Moral  truth  (or  variant  degrees  of  likelihood)  is  obtained  by 
comparing  intuitive  truth  with  the  evidence  of  experience,  analogy,  and 

In  his  explanation  of  "experience,"  Campbell  provides  us  not  only 
with  a  description  of  the  essential  preliminary  condition  to  scientific 
induction  which  Mill  calls  "unscientific  practice"  but  also  with  a  rela- 
tively advanced  view  of  causation  in  the  theory  of  induction.  And, 
although  he  accepts  the  constancy  of  nature's  laws  as  the  fundamental 
principle  of  induction,  Campbell  does  not,  as  did  Whately,  jump  to  the 
conclusion  that  every  induction  is  a  syllogism  in  which  the  suppressed 
major  premise  is  a  proposition  that  declares  the  uniformity  of  nature.41 
Both  Campbell  and  Whately  attempt  to  apply  the  mathematics  of 
probability  to  the  weighing  of  evidence  and  argument  in  rhetoric. 

he  says, 
should  be  completed  and  conclusions  should  be  reached  before  argu- 


mentative  composition  starts;  and  the  first  step  in  the  process  of  compo- 
sition, although  not  necessarily  so  in  final  argumentation,  is  to  lay  down 
these  conclusions  or  propositions.42 

Whereas  Campbell  represents  an  extreme  position  which  holds  that 
the  syllogism  is  useless,  Whately  speaks  for  the  opposite  view  which 
declares  that  the  syllogism  is  the  universal  type  of  inference.  It  is  cus- 
tomary, he  says,  "to  argue  in  the  enthymematic  form,  and  to  call  .  .  .  the 
expressed  premise  of  the  enthymeme,  the  argument  by  which  the  con- 
clusion is  proved/'  43 

Arguments  are  those  propositions  which  serve  as  premises.  When 
classified  in  regard  to  the  "relation  of  the  subject-matter  of  the  premise 
to  that  of  the  conclusion"  they  fall  into  two  major  groups:  first,  those 
that  can  be  used  "to  account  for  the  fact  or  principle  maintained,  sup- 
posing its  truth  granted;"  and  second,  "those  that  cannot  be  so  used."  44 

The  first  class  isjaj^piaa  In  saying  that  "if  the 

Cause  be  fully  sufficient,  and  no  impediments  intervene,  the  Effect  in 
question  follows  certainly;  and  the  nearer  we  approach  to  this,  the 
stronger  the  argument/'  and  also  in  stating  that  "this  is  the  kind  of 
argument  which  produces  (when  short  of  absolute  certainty)  that  spe- 
cies of  the  Probable  which  is  usually  called  the  Plausible/'  Whately 
appears  to  include  all  causal  argument,  probable  and  necessary.45  And, 
although  he  improves  upon  these  criteria  for  testing  causal  reasoning  in 
his  analysis  of  the  fallacy  of  non  causa  pro  causa,  the  Archbishop  of 
Dublin  is  to  be  criticized  for  ignoring  the  discussions  of  plurality  of 
causes  and  combinations  of  causes  and  conditions  which  were  available 
to  him  in  the  works  of  Bacon,  Hobbes,  Locke,  Hume,  Watts,  and  Mill. 

[t  is  ratio  cognescendi  or  reason  for  knowing.46  From  some  signs,  we 

2an  infer  either  the  certain  or  probable  "cause"  of  an  effect  or  phenom- 
snon.  From  others,  we  can  infer  some  "condition"  without  which  the 
sffect  could  not  exist.  Argument  from  testimony  is  a  species  of  sign.  We 
reason  that,  because  testimony  exists,  the  fact  attested  is  true  (the  truth 
Df  what  is  attested  is  a  "condition"  of  the  testimony  having  been  given)  . 
When  testimony  is  to  a  matter  of  fact,4'7  we  evaluate  it  by  questioning 
the  honesty  of  the  witness,  his  accuracy,  and  his  means  of  getting  infor- 
mation. When  the  testimony  is  to  a  matter  of  opinion,418  it  is  necessary 
to  enquire  as  to  the  ability  of  the  individual  to  form  a  judgment  Testi- 
mony is  strengthened  if  it  is  inimical  to  the  known  prejudices  of  the 
attestor,  if  it  is  corroborated  by  many  witnesses  (assuming  that  the 
testimony  is  original  and  not  hearsay),  if  it  comes  through  incidental 
hints  or  oblique  allusions  and  is  therefore  undesigned,  if  it  leads  to  a 
conclusion  that  the  attestor  would  be  unwilling  to  admit,  if  it  agrees 


with  generally  known  statements  which  remain  uncontradicted,  if,  in 
case  of  concurrent  testimony,  there  has  been  no  opportunity  for  concert 
and  especially  when  rivalry  or  hostility  exists  between  the  attestors,  and 
if  it  is  improbable  that  the  thing  attested  could  have  been  imagined  or 

Example,  the  second  division  of  sign,  includes  arguments  usually 
designated  by  the  terms  induction,  experience,  and  analogy.  In  argu- 
ments such  as  these  "we  consider  one  or  more,  known,  individual 
objects  or  instances,  of  a  certain  class,  as  a  fair  sample,  in  respect  of 
some  point  or  other  of  that  class;  and,  consequently  draw  an  inference 
from  them  respecting  either  the  whole  class,  or  other,  less  known,  indi- 
viduals of  it."  The  term  "induction"  is  applied  to  arguments  that  stop 
short  at  the  general  conclusion.  Inductions  can  be  stated  in  syllogistic 
form  because,  in  all  cases,  there  exists  a  major  premise  which  assumes 
"that  the  instance  or  instances  induced  are  sufficient  to  authorize  the 
conclusion."  50  The  term  "experience"  applies  to  the  premises  from 
which  we  argue  and  not  to  the  conclusion  we  reach.51  The  term 
"analogy"  is  used  for  argument  in  which  we  reason  from  one  thing  to 
another  thing,  both  of  which  are  similar  in  "relation."1  Whately  here 
seems  to  be  confined  to  figurative  analogy,  and  seems  to  have  over- 
looked the  implications  of  Campbell's  thinking  on  the  subject. 

There  is  "no  distinct  class  of  refutatory  argument;"  52  arguments 
become  such  because  they  are  used  either  to  prove  the  opposite  of  a 
proposition  or  to  over-throw  the  arguments  by  which  the  proposition 
has  been  supported.  In  the  first  instance,  the  argument  is  only  "acci- 
dentally refutatory"  in  that  it  can  be  developed  in  the  absence  of  oppos- 
ing argument.  In  the  second  instance,  the  argument  consists  of  exposure 
of  fallacies.53 

In  every  fallacy,  Whately  writes,  the  conclusion  either  does  or  does 
not  follow  from  the  premises.  Where  conclusions  do  not  follow,  the 
fault  is  in  the  reasoning,  and  these,  therefore,  are  called  logical  falla- 
cies. They  are  subdivided  into  (1)  purely  logical  fallacies  which  exhibit 
their  fallaciousness  by  the  bare  form  of  the  expression  without  respect 
for  the  meaning  of  terms,  and  (2)  semi-logical  fallacies  which  are 
"cases  of  ambiguous  middle  term  except  its  non-distribution."  Purely 
logical  fallacies  would  include  (a)  undistributed  middle,  (6)  illicit 
process,  (c)  negative  premises  or  affirmative  conclusion  from  a  negative 
premise  and  vice  versa,  and  (d)  more  than  three  terms.  Semi-logical 
fallacies  result  from  (a)  ambiguities  in  language  or  (b)  ambiguities  in 

Where  the  conclusion  does  follow  from  the  premises,  the  fallacies  are 
called  nonlogical,  or  material  fallacies.  Of  these  there  are  two  kinds: 
those  in  which  the  premises  are  such  as  ought  not  to  have  been  assumed, 


and  those  in  which  the  conclusion  is  not  the  one  required.  Nonlogical 
fallacies,  in  which  the  premise  is  unduly  assumed,  has  two  species, 
petitio  principii,  "in  which  one  of  the  Premises  either  is  manifestly  the 
same  in  sense  with  the  Conclusion,  or  is  actually  proved  from  it,"  and 
non  causa,  or  false  cause,  in  which  there  is  "undue  assumption,  of  a 
Premise  that  is  not  equivalent  to,  or  dependent  on,  the  Conclusion." 
Nonlogical  fallacies  in  which  the  conclusion  is  irrelevant  (ignoratio 
elenchi)  break  down  into  the  fallacy  of  objections,  the  fallacy  of  shift- 
ing ground,  the  fallacy  of  using  complex  general  terms,  the  fallacy  of 
appeals  to  the  passions  (argumentum  ad  hominem,  ad  verecundiam, 
and  so  forth),  and  the  fallacy  of  proving  a  part  and  suppressing  the  rest 
of  the  question.54 

Whately  warns  his  readers  that,  in  reasoning  in  the  realm  of  probabili- 
ties, there  are  likely  to  be  sound  arguments  and  valid  objections  on  both 
sides  of  a  proposition  and,  consequently,  it  is  possible  that  solid  argu- 
ments may  be  advanced  against  one  that  is  true.  Therefore,  it  is  wise  to 
concede  the  strength  of  objections  that  are  unanswerable.  Weak 
advocates  can  do  harm  to  a  cause  for  the  reason  that  they  are  easily 
answered,  leaving  the  impression  that  all  arguments  which  could  have 
been  advanced  have  been  destroyed.  For  the  same  reason,  it  is  danger- 
ous to  advance  more  arguments  than  can  be  maintained.  Psycho- 
logically, an  elaborate  attack  upon  arguments  is  likely  to  enhance  their 
importance  or  to  result  in  audience  refusal  of  the  refutatory  remarks. 
Furthermore,  it  is  wise  to  confine  arguments  to  those  that  "are  directly 
accessible  to  the  persons  addressed,"  and  sometimes  it  becomes  neces- 
sary to  trace  an  erroneous  opinion  directly  to  its  source. 

Emotional  Proof 

Among  the  English  rhetoricians,  -Q^£g£C^£^^.  is  the  only  theorist 
wK^rtttettlpts  a  thorough  and  systematic  examination  of  the  pathetic. 
Why,  he  asks,  does  the  pathetic,  "which  consists  chiefly  in  exhibitions  of 
human  misery,"  hold  our  attention?  What  is  the  cause  of  "that  pleasure 
which  we  receive  from  objects  or  representations  that  excite  pity  and 
other  painful  feelings?"  After  examining  and  expressing  dissatisfaction 
with  the  hypotheses  of  Abbe  Du  Bos,  Fontenelle,  Hume,  and  Hobbes, 
he  presents  his  own,  and  condttdes  that  the  pkasnre  In  p%*^iiaes 
"from  its  own  natur$.jQEjrom  the  nature  of  those  passions  of  which  it  is 
Compounded  and  not  fooni  ai^I!^  The 

observations  that  lead  him  to  this  conclusion  are,  first,  that  all  oflEe 

^epteasanTlTove,  joy, 

hope;  gratitude,  pride)  ,q,nd  the  painful  ""(  hafreS,  grief,  fear,  anger, 
shame);  second,  that  there  is  "an  attraction  or  association  anpucm    the 


passions";  third,  that  "pain  of  every  kind  generally  makes  a  deeper 
impression  on  -the  imagination  than  pleasure  does,  and  is  longer  re- 
tained by  memory";  fourth,  that,  if  pleasant  passions  predominate 
among  a  "group"  of  both  pleasant  and  painful  passions,  there  arises 
often  "a  greater  and  more  durable  pleasure  to  the  mind,  than  would 
result  from  these,  if  alone  and  unmixed";  fifth,  that  "under  the  name 
pity  may  be  included  all  the  emotions  excited  by  tragedy";  and  sixth, 
that  "pity  is  not  a  simple  passion,  but  a  group  of  passions  united  by 
association,  and  as  it  were  blended,  by  centering  in  the  same  object."  55 

Whately  accepts  Dugald  Stewart's  division  of  the  passions  into  "appe- 
tites, desires,  and  affections,"  to  which  he  adds  "self-love"  and  "con- 
science." These  he  calls  "the  active  principles  of  our  nature."  Ward  is 
satisfied  to  speak  of  "commotions  of  the  mind."  56 

Our  authors  are  in  complete  agreement  as  to  the  place  of  emotional 
appeal  in  persuasive  discourse.  Ward  insists  that  it  be  used  only  to 
influence  men  to  act  "agreeably  to  reason."  Campbell,  Blair,  and 
Whately  admit  that  there  can  be  no  persuasion  without  appeal  to  the 
passions  but  insist  that,  rhetorically  and  ethically,  conviction  of  the 
understanding  comes  first.57 

Talent  in  the  use  of  emotional  proof,  says  Blair,  is  not  gained  from  a 
philosophical  knowledge  of  the  passions  but  rather  from  "a  certain 
strong  and  happy  sensibility  of  mind."  He  recommends  that  the  speaker 
consider  whether  the  subject  will  admit  the  pathetic,  seize  the  critical 
moment  that  is  favorable  to  emotion  in  whatever  part  of  the  discourse 
it  occurs,  paint  the  object  of  the  passion  in  the  most  striking  and  natural 
manner,  be  moved  himself,  he  bold  and  ardent,  use  simple  and  unaf- 
fected language,  beware  of  digressions  and  comparisons,  beware  of  too 
much  reasoning,  and  never  attempt  to  prolong  the  pathetic  too  far.58 

No  passion,  declares  Whately,  is  aroused  by  thinking  about  it  per  sey 
but  "by  thinking  about,  and  attending  to,  such  objects  that  are  calcu- 
lated to  awaken  it."  He  suggests  that  the  speaker  dwell  upon  the 
circumstances  of  the  case  at  hand,  use  comparison,  and  either  openly 
display  the  feeling  to  be  conveyed  or  appear  laboring  to  suppress  it.  In 
no  case  should  address  to  the  passions  be  introduced  as  such.  If  it  seems 
unlikely  that  the  occasion  or  object  at  hand  will  excite  the  desired  emo- 
tion, the  speaker  may  turn  attention  to  that  which  will  raise  the  feeling; 
once  aroused,  the  passion  may  be  turned  in  the  direction  required.59 

Campbell  explains  that  circumstances  "chiefly  instrumental"  in  oper- 
ating on  the  passions  are  (1)  probability,  (2)  plausibility,  (3)  impor- 
tance, (4)  proximity  of  time,  (5)  connection  of  place,  (6)  relation  to 
the  persons  concerned,  and  (7)  interest  in  the  circumstances.  An  unfav- 
orable passion  is  calmed  by  annihilating  or  diminishing  the  object  which 
raised  it,  or  by  exciting  some  other  passion  that  will  overcome  it.60 


On  the  surface,  Campbell,  Blair,  and  Whately  seem  to  dichotomize 
"rea'son**  and  "emotion."  None  of  them,  however,  seems  to  think  in  terms 
of  a  strict  division  of  human  powers.  Unquestionably,  their  attempt  to 
analyze  and  clarify  the  aims  of  public  address,  as  well  as  the  limitations 
of  language,  led  them  to  speak  but  not  necessarily  to  think  in  terms  of 
separate  human  "powers,"  Campbell,  at  least,  would  have  been  aware 
of  Locke's  warning  that  this  way  of  speaking  "has  misled  many  into  a 
confused  notion  of  so  many  distinct  agents  in  us."  G1 

Ethical  Proof 

English  concepts  of  ethical  proof  are,  encompassed  in  Ward's  explana- 
tion' of  it  as  "the  means  by  which  the  speaker  conciliates  the  minds  of 
his  hearers,  gains  their  affection,  and  recommends  both  himself  and 
what  he  says  to  their  good  opinion  and  esteem."  G2  Ward,  Campbell, 
and  Blair  lean  toward  Quintilian's  philosophy  that  the  speaker  must  be 
a  good  man  in  order  to  recommend  himself  to  an  audience.  Whately 
leans  in  the  opposite  direction  and  declares,  specifically,  that  he  is 
talking  about  "the  impression  produced  in  the  minds  of  the  hearers" 
rather  than  the  real  character  of  the  speaker.63 

Whately  follows  Aristotle  in  stating  that  the  character  to  be  estab- 
lished is  that  of  good  principle,  good  sense,  and  good  will64  Ward 
insists  that  the  speaker  display  the  qualities  of  wisdom,  integrity, 
benevolence,  and  modesty.65  The  speaker  will  more  easily  gain  assent 
if  he  appears  to  be  convinced  of  the  truth  of  his  position,60  and  if  he 
appears  to  be  of  the  same  party  as  the  hearers.67  The  speaker  should 
express  wise,  amiable,  and  generous  sentiments.68  He  should  avoid  in- 
consistency,69 direct  self -commendation,70  and  a  display  of  oratorical 
skill.71  To  allay  prejudice,  the  speaker  should  turn  the  emotion  in  an- 
other direction  or  excite  a  contrary  state  of  mind.72  Also  he  should  make 
concessions,  defer  appropriately  to  the  judgment  of  his  hearers,  and 
request  that  they  attend  exclusively  to  the  subject.73 


In  English  theory,  much  of  the  judgment,  selection,  and  adaptation 
assigned  to  dispositio  by  classical  writers  is  siphoned  into  other  divi- 
sions of  rhetoric  or  is  concentrated  under  a  consideration  of  audience. 
In  general,  that  which  is  left  to  di&positio  is  decision  concerning  the 
arrangement,  adaptation,  and  proportionment  of  the  parts  of  a  speech.74 



In  general,  and  with  only  slight  differences  from  theory  to  theory,  the 
English  rhetoricians  choose  to  follow  Cicero's  six-part  division  of  a 
speech  into  introduction,  narration,  proposition,  confirmation,  refuta- 
tioh,  and  conclusion.  Probably  the  only  important  variation  from  typical 
instruction  is  Campbell's  stipulation  that  the  conclusion  of  every  ser- 
mon should  be  persuasive  in  nature. 


Probably  the  distinguishing  characteristic  of  English  instruction  con- 
cerning adaptation  to  audience  is  location  in  the  rhetorical  systems. 
Campbell  gives  a  special  section  of  his  Philosophy  to  a  consideration 
of  the  audience,  but  the  bulk  of  Whately's  comment  falls  within  his 
discussion  of  persuasion.  Blair  scatters  his  relatively  few  and  general 
comments  throughout  his  treatise.  Ward  spreads  his  ideas  concerning 
adaptation  into  three  places  in  his  System,  into  his  explanation  of  the 
use  of  topoi  in  commendatory  and  deliberative  speeches,  into  his  lec- 
tures on  the  passions,  and  into  his  consideration  of  ethical  proof. 

The  most  careful  analysis  of  audience  is  found  in  Campbell's  Philoso- 
phy. Drawing  upon  Aristotle,  he  declares  that  hearers  must  be  con- 
sidered both  "as  men  in  general"  and  "as  men  in  particular''  or,  in  other 
words,  as  men  having  certain  general  similarities  and  as  men  having 
certain  specific  differences.  Men  in  general  are  endowed  with  under- 
standing, imagination,  memory,  and  passions.  In  adapting  discourse  to 
understanding,  the  speaker  is  concerned  about  the  clearness  and  sim- 
plicity of  his  proofs,  his  reasoning,  and  his  language.  In  order  to  stimu- 
late imagination,  he  makes  sure  that  his  ideas  are  vivacious,  beautiful, 
sublime,  or  novel.  In  accommodating  discourse  to  memory,  he  attempts 
to  facilitate  the  "association  of  ideas/'  In  attempting  to  touch  the  pas- 
sions, he  "communicates  lively  and  glowing  ideas  of  the  object."  Men 
in  particular  are  different  in  intellectual  attainment,  behavior,  habit, 
and  occupation.  Also  they  are  different  from  group  to  group.75  All 
aspects  of  the  discourse  must  be  adapted  to  these  specific  differences. 

Our  other  theorists  contribute  nothing  that  is  not  encompassed  in 
Campbell's  analysis.  Whately,  however,  reminds  his  readers  that, 
although  the  speaker  uses  "all  precautions  not  inconsistent  with  his 
object"  to  avoid  displeasing  his  hearers,  'Tie  who  would  claim  highest 
rank  as  an  orator . . .  must  be  the  one  who  is  the  most  successful,  not  in 
gaining  popular  applause,  but  in  carrying  his  point,  whatever  it  be." 76 



"Elocution  directs  us  to  suit  both  the  words  and  the  expressions  of  a 
discourse  to  the  nature  of  the  subject/'  explains  John  Ward.  "General 
elocution"  is  concerned  with  "elegance"  (purity  and  perspicuity),  "com- 
position" (turn  and  harmony  of  periods),  and  "dignity"  (tropes  and 
figures)  of  language.  "Particular  elocution"  makes  use  of  the  constitu- 
ents of  general  elocution  to  form  the  low,  middle,  and  sublime  styles.  To 
become  master  of  a  good  style  an  orator  must  be  endowed  with  a  vigor- 
ous mind,  a  lively  fancy,  good  judgment,  and  a  strong  memory.  And 
style  must  be  adapted  to  the  subject,  the  time,  the  place,  the  hearers, 
and  "other  circumstances."  7r 

"General  elocution,"  as  explained  by  Ward,  conforms  closely  with 
Cicero's  discussion  of  "embellishment  of  language."  His  division  of  "par- 
ticular elocution"  is  definitely  a  repetition  of  Cicero's  discussion  of  three 
"forms"  or  "complexions"  of  eloquence.78  This  comparison  helps  to 
clarify  the  various  referents  of  the  word  "style"  in  the  works  of  our 
English  rhetoricians.  Blair  uses  the  word  to  encompass  both  of  Cicero's 
( and  Ward's )  divisions  of  elocution.  Campbell  and  Whately  abandon 
Cicero's  "forms"  of  eloquence,  and  limit  their  thinking  to  what  Ward 
calls  "general  elocution"  and  Cicero  labels  "embellishment." 

Hugh  Blair  defines  style  as  "the  peculiar  manner  in  which  a  man 
expresses  his  conceptions,  by  means  of  language."  And  he  divides  this 
aspect  of  rhetoric  into  "perspicuity"  and  "ornament."  His  explanation  of 
perspicuity  is  typical:  words  must  be  pure,  proper,  and  precise;  sen- 
tence structure  must  be  clear,  exact,  unified,  strong,  and  harmonious. 
He  warns  that  ornament  is  liable  to  abuse,  but  provides  a  full  catalog 
of  figurative  language  as  well  as  an  exhaustive  analysis  of  twelve  differ- 
ent forms  or  complexions  of  eloquence.  To  this,  he  appends  suggestions 
for  the  attainment  of  good  style.  These  suggestions  are  perhaps  Blair's 
most  important  contribution  to  the  subject.  Study  the  subject,  he  says, 
and  "think  closely"  about  it.  Become  acquainted  with  the  style  of  the 
best  authors,  but  remember  that  "servile  imitation"  is  dangerous.  Obtain 
frequent  practice  in  composing,  and  remember  that  style  must  be 
adapted  to  both  the  subject  and  the  capacity  of  the  hearers.  Above  all, 
do  not  allow  attention  to  style  to  take  precedence  over  attention  to 

Campbell's  treatment  of  elocution  seems  to  have  been  influenced  by 
four  factors;  first,  English  philosophical  thought  concerning  the  rela- 
tionship of  language  and  knowledge;  second,  observation  of  the  difficul- 
ties in  communication  brought  on  by  provincial  dialects;  third,  eight- 
eenth-century concern  about  the  meaning  of  words;  and  fourth, 
Quintilian's  elaborate  discussion  of  style. 


As  interested  as  he  was  in  the  sources  of  knowledge,  it  would  have 
been  inconceivable  for  Campbell  to  neglect  the  nature,  use,  and  signi- 
fication of  language  as  it  relates  to  knowledge.  Along  with  Bacon, 
Hobbes,  Locke,  and  Hume,  he  insists  that  words,  if  used  with  meaning, 
must  have  clear  reference  to  something.  Hobbes  and  Campbell  believe 
that  this  reference  is  to  things  actually  existing  and  actually  appre- 
hended. Locke  and  Hume  believe  that  the  reference  is  to  "ideas."  The 
issue,  is,  of  course,  one  which  has  to  do  with  the  reality  of  knowledge. 
There  is  no  disagreement  about  the  fact  that  unless  language  has  dis- 
tinct and  specific  reference  to  the  object  of  which  it  is  a  sign,  it  is  pure 
jargon.  In  the  works  of  these  men  we  find  the  basic  tenets  of  what  has, 
of  late,  come  to  be  called  general  semantics.80 

While  serving  in  his  country  parish,  Banchory  Ternan,  Campbell  be- 
came concerned  about  dialects.  And  later,  as  a  professor  of  pulpit  elo- 
quence at  Marischal  College,  he  warned  his  students  that  "if  you  attach 
yourself  to  a  provincial  dialect,  it  is  a  hundred  to  one,  that  many  of 
your  words  and  phrases  will  be  misunderstood  in  the  very  neighboring 
province,  district,  or  county." S1  To  overcome  the  fault,  he  recom- 
mended that  his  students  study  the  best  grammarians  and  the  best 
English  authors. 

Evidence  of  English  interest  in  the  meaning  of  words  is  found  in  the 
publication  of  dictionaries.  Samuel  Johnson's  fascinating  Dictionary 
(1755)  had  been  followed  by  John  Walker's  Critical  Pronouncing  Dic- 
tionary and  Expositor  of  the  English  Language  (1791),  Thomas  Sheri- 
dan's General  Dictionary  of  the  English  Languages  (1780),  John 
Ash's  New  And  Complete  Dictionary  (1775),  and  William  Kendrick's 
New  Dictionary  (1773).  It  had  been  preceded  by  Nathaniel  Bailey's 
Universal  Etymological  English  Dictionary  (1721),  Edward  Phillip's 
New  Worlde  of  Wordes  (1658),  and  Henry  Cockeram's  Dictionary 

Following  the  lead  of  Quintilian,82  Campbdl  divides  elocution  into 
two  kinds:  "grammatical"  and  "rhetorical."  The  "grammatical  art*'  is  the 
foundation  of  the  "rhetorical  art/'  The  highest  aim  of  the  former  is  the 
lowest  aim  of  the  latter.  But  the  two  overlap.  Grammar  looks  toward 
"syntax"  or  the  composition  of  words  into  one  sentence.  Oratory  looks 
toward  "style"  or  both  the  composition  of  words  into  sentences  and  the 
composition  of  many  sentences  into  a  discourse.83  The  orator  must  not 
only  be  master  of  tiie  lariguage  he  speaks  but  he  also  must  be  capable 
of  adding  to  grammatical  purity  "those  higher  qualities  of  elocution, 
which  will  render  his  discourse  graceful  and  energetic."  In  regard  to 
grammar,  Campbell  designates  "use"  as  the  supreme  authority  over 
language  as  long  as  it  is  "reputable,"  "national,"  and  "present."  He 
provides  us  with  nine  canons  by  which  the  speaker  may  be  guided 


in  the  selection  or  rejection  of  words  and  expressions.  Achievement 
of  "grammatical  purity/'  he  says,  is  the  common  aim  of  both  gram- 
marian and  orator.  Purity  of  the  English  tongue  may  be  injured, 
first,  by  "barbarism"  or  the  use  of  obsolete,  new,  or  "new-modeled" 
words,  second,  by  "solecism"  or  violation  of  the  rules  of  syntax, 
and  third,  by  "impropriety,"  or  failure  to  use  words  to  express  pre- 
cise meaning.  In  regard  to  style,  Campbell  insists  that,  in  addition  to 
being  pure,  it  must  be  perspicuous,  vivacious,  elegant,  animated,  and 
musical.  He  elaborates  upon  only  two  of  these  qualities.  Perspicuity  is 
violated  by  speaking  obscurely,  ambiguously,  or  unintelligibly.  Vivac- 
ity results  from  the  use  of  language  that  imitates  things,  the  use  of 
specific  terms,  and  the  use  of  tropes,  as  well  as  from  brevity  in  the  use 
of  words,  variety  in  the  arrangement  of  sentences,  and  inconspicuous- 
ness  in  the  use  of  connectives.84 

Unfortunately,  Campbell  became  interested  in  botany  and  did  not 
write  his  contemplated  chapters  of  the  Philosophy  which,  presumably, 
would  have  set  forth  his  ideas  on  elegance,  animation,  and  music  in 

Richard  Whately's  theory  of  elocution  reveals  six  distinguishing  char- 
acteristics. The  first  is  his  refusal  to  introduce  observations  concerning 
grammar.  It  is  not,  he  says,  exclusively  the  concern  of  rhetoric.  The 
second  is  his  limited  treatment  of  ornament.  The  only  aspects  of  lan- 
guage that  have  application  to  argumentative  and  persuasive  works, 
he  claims,  are  perspicuity,  energy,  and  elegance.  Perspicuity  is  aided  by 
avoiding  overly-long  sentences,  uncommon  words,  prolixity,  and  overly- 
concise  statements.  Energy  is  improved  by  choosing  words  carefully,  by 
expressing  ideas  briefly,  and,  insofar  as  the  rules  of  language  will  per- 
mit, by  expressing  first  the  ideas  that  occur  first  Elegance  is  assisted  by 
avoiding  "homely  and  coarse  words  and  phrases,"  and  by  using  a 
"smooth  and  easy  flow  of  words  in  respect  of  the  sounds  of  the  sen- 
tences." A  third  feature  of  Whately's  theory  of  elocution  is  his  emphasis 
upon  the  relativity  of  perspicuity.  Lucidity  of  thought,  he  says,  cannot 
be  predicted  without  reference  to  the  hearers  and  to  the  kind  and  de- 
gree of  attention  they  will  bestow  upon  it.  A  fourth  distinctive  element 
is  Whately's  insistence  that,  to  achieve  elegance  of  language,  the 
speaker  should  "maintain  the  appearance  of  expressing  himself,  not,  as 
if  he  wanted  to  say  something,,  but  as  if  he  had  something  to  say."  A 
fifth  distinguishing  mark  is  his  discussion  of  spurious  kinds  of  writing 
and  speaking  in  which  "obscurity"  rather  than  perspicuity  is  to  the  pur- 
pose. And  a  sixth  is  his  emphasis  upon  differences  between  rhetoric  and 
poetic.  Whereas  Campbell  sees  a  close  relationship  between  oratory 
and  poetry,  Whately  discerns  great  unlikeness.  The  poet  and  the  orator, 
says  Campbell,  make  use  of  the  same  rules  of  composition  and  the  same 


tropes  and  figures.  Frequently,  their  aims  coincide.  Versification  makes 
poetry  only  a  variety  of  oratory  and  not  a  different  form  of  expression.85 
To  Whately,  the  differences  stem  from  primacy  of  purpose  as  well  as 
from  primacy  of  language  and  form.  Thought  is  primary  in  rhetoric,  but 
subordinate  in  poetry.  Elegant  language  and  metre  are  primary  in 
poetry,  but  subordinate  in  oratory.86 


All  of  these  English  theorists  emphasize  the  importance  of  delivery. 
Campbell  devotes  One  full  lecture  to  it.  Ward  quotes  Cicero,  Demos- 
thenes, and  Quintilian  in  agreeing  that  "this  is  the  principal  part  of  an 
orator's  province,  from  whence  he  is  chiefly  to  expect  success  in  the  art 
of  persuasion."  Blair  declares  that  "nothing  is  more  important"  in  pub- 
lic address  than  delivery.  Whately  calls  it  "a  most  important  branch  of 
rhetoric."  87 


Although  the  detail  devoted  to  the  subject  of  pronunciation  by  these 
rhetoricians  ranges  from  Ward's  lengthy  and  minute  explanation  to 
Blair's  few  paragraphs,  all.are  in  agreement  that  the  delivery  of  the 
speaker  ^shpuld  be  /'natural."  They  differ,  however,  concerning  the 
methocUef  teaching" delivery.  Ward  is  neo-classical  in  his  tendency  to 
formulate  rules,  suggest  models,  and  recommend  imitation.  Qgnipbell., 
Blair,  and  Whately,  on  the  other  hand,  may  be  classified  as  romanticists 
who^  confidently  trusted  the  end  result  of  an  individual's  response  to 
his  own-  thought-emotion.  Two  basic  points  of  view  seem  to  underlie 
their  instruction.  In  ^he  first  place,  the  speaker  should  concentrate  upon 
hi^;  subject.  This  point  is  given  strong  emphasis  in  the  Elements  of 
Rhetoric,  and,  although  Whately  claims  some  degree  of  originality  for 
the  idea,  it  is  expressed  or  implied  in  the  theory  of  each  of  his  predeces- 
sors. Se^QstdlyrAe  sgeak§i:^Pl4dfeel  todepe^ent  o£  ral§s  ^djismain 
confident  of  tl|§  effectiveness  of  delivery  that  springs  spontaneously 
from  earnest  attempts  to  communicate.  The  "natural  manner,"  says 
Whately,  is  "that  whicn  one  naturally  falls  into  who  is  really  speaking, 
in  earnest,  and  with  a  mind  exclusively  intent  on  what  he  has  to  say, 
avoiding  all  thoughts  of  self."  It  is  "the  delivery  of  a  man  of  sense  and 
taste,  speaking  earnestly,  on  a  serious  subject,  and  on  a  solemn  occa- 
sion." When  a  speaker  is  engaged  in  public  discourse,  suggests  Blair, 
"lie  ought  to  be  then  quite  in  earnest;  wholly  occupied  with  his  subject 
and  his  sentiments;  leaving  nature,  and  previously  formed  habits  to 
prompt  and  suggest  his  manner  of  delivery."  88 


Whately,  possibly  because  he  had  been  able  to  observe  the  effects  of 
the  elocutionary  movement,  pens  not  only  a  carefully  meditated  argu- 
ment for  the  natural  manner  but  also  a  castigating  refutation  of  me- 
chanical systems  of  teaching  delivery.  His  observations  are  written  as 
though  they  were  the  outgrowth  of  considerable  discussion,  and  so 
intent  is  he  upon  establishing  the  soundness  of  his  philosophy  that  he 
repetitiously  writes  his  chapter  twice.  He  argues  that  systems  of  analyz- 
ing and  marking  passages  are  ( 1 )  imperfect  in  that  no  variety  of  marks 
could  be  invented  to  indicate  all  the  different  "tones/'  (2)  circuitous 
in  that  they  attempt  to  teach  the  reader  to  do  that  which  comes  nat- 
urally, and  (3)  ineffectual  because  attention  is  focused  on  the  voice, 
and  the  voice,  therefore,  becomes  studied  and  artificial. 

Voice  and  Articulation 

The  recommendations  of  these  English  rhetoricians  in  regard  to  voice 
and  articulation  hold  up  well  when  compared  with  modern  precepts. 
Campbell  divides  delivery  into  "grammatical  pronunciation"  and  ^rhe- 
torical pronunciation."  These,  he  says,  are  so  perfectly  distinct,  that 
"each  may  be  found  in  a  very  eminent  degree  without  the  other." 
Grammatical  pronunciation  consists  "in  articulating,  audibly  and  dis- 
tinctly, the  letters  whether  vowels  or  consonants,  assigning  to  each  its 
appropriate  sound,  in  giving  the  several  syllables  their  just  quantity, 
and  in  placing  the  accent,  or,  as  some  call  it,  the  syllabic  emphasis,  in 
every  word  on  the  proper  syllable."  Rhetorical  pronunciation  consists 
"in  giving  such  an  utterance  to  the  several  words  in  a  sentence,  as  shows 
in  the  mind  of  the  speaker  a  strong  perception,  or  as  it  were,  feeling  of 
the  truth  and  justness  of  the  thought  conveyed  by  them,  and  in  placing 
the  rhetorical  emphasis  in  every  sentence,  on  the  proper  word,  that  is, 
on  the  word  which,  by  being  pronounced  emphatically,  gives  the  great- 
est energy  and  clearness  to  the  expression.  Under  this  head  is  also  com- 
prehended gesture."  89 

Campbell  warns  against  a  forced  and  unnatural  grammatical  pro- 
nunciation and  lists  five  potential  faults:  (1)  straining  the  voice 
"beyond  its  natural  key,"  (2)  rapidity  of  rate,  (3)  a  "theatrical  and 
violent  manner,"  (4)  "insipid  monotony,"  and  (5)  a  "sing-song  man- 
ner." In  connection  with  this  he  offers  four  suggestions  on  the  manage- 
ment of  the  voice:  (1)  avoid  beginning  on  too  high  a  clef,  (2)  preserve 
the  same  key  on  which  you  begin,  (3)  begin  by  speaking  deliberately 
and  slowly,  (4)  engage  in  frequent  practice  in  reading,  speaking,  and 
repeating  before  at  least  one  "sensible  companion." 

Blair  approaches  the  matter  somewhat  differently  and  says  that  the 
speaker,  in  delivery,  has  two  aims:  (1)  to  speak  so  as  to  be  fully  and 


easily  understood,  and  (2)  to  speak  with  grace  and  force.  To  accom- 
plish the  first  objective,  the  speaker  should  (a)  "use  a  due  degree  of 
loudness  of  voice/'  ( b )  use  distinct  articulation,  giving  "every  sound  its 
due  proportion  . . .  without  slurring,  whispering,  or  suppressing  any  of 
the  proper  sounds,"  (c)  be  moderate  in  rate,  avoiding  extremes  of  pre- 
cipitancy and  slowness,  and  (d)  use  proper  pronunciation,  forming  each 
sound  according  to  "polite  usage"  and  giving  each  word  its  "proper 
accentuation."  To  accomplish  the  second  objective,  the  speaker  attends 
to  emphasis,  pauses,  tones,  and  gesture.90 

Whately  tells  us  that  three  qualities  of  delivery  fall  within  the  prov- 
ince of  rhetoric:  (1)  perspicuity,  which  makes  the  meaning  fully 
understandable  to  the  hearers,  (2)  energy,  which  conveys  meaning 
forcibly,  and  (3)  elegance,  which  conveys  meaning  agreeably.  How- 
ever, he  does  not  follow  through  and  isolate  the  elements  that  enter 
into  these  qualities;  rather  he  attempts  to  establish  the  general  prin- 
ciple that  "nature"  will  spontaneously  suggest  the  proper  emphases, 
tones,  pauses,  degrees  of  loudness,  degrees  of  rapidity,  and  so  forth. 

Ward  treats  voice  under  the  headings  "quantity"  and  "quality."  As  to 
quantity  of  voice,  he  recommends  that  the  speaker  "fill  the  place  where 
he  speaks,"  avoid  extremes  of  pitch,  avoid  monotony  and  sudden  varia- 
tions, adapt  to  the  nature  of  the  subject,  maintain  variety  in  pace,  give 
each  word  and  syllable  "its  just  and  full  sound,  both  as  to  time  and 
accent,"  and  attend  to  pausing.  As  to  quality  of  voice,  he  asks  that  we 
make  the  best  of  what  nature  has  bestowed  upon  us,  and,  by  careful 
attention,  improve  on  its  strength,  clearness,  fullness,  and  smoothness,91 


Ward  uses  the  term  gesture  as  the  label  for  "a  suitable  conformity  of 
the  motions  of  the  countenance,  and  several  parts  of  the  body  in  speak- 
ing, tq  the  subject  matter  of  the  discourse,"  and  divides  it  into  "natural" 
and  "imitative."  Natural  action  consists  of  those  gestures  and  motions 
that  normally  accompany  our  words;  imitative  action  is  that  which  is 
used  in  describing  or  in  personating.  He  provides  rather  elaborate 
advice  concerning  management  of  the  head,  countenance,  eyes,  shoul- 
ders, arms,  hands,  chest,  and  feet92 

The  other  theorists  do  not  follow  Ward's  lead.  Whately  refuses  to 
discuss  bodily  action.  The  situation  at  present,  he  says,  seems  to  be, 
tKaf  TEe  disgust  excited,  on  the  one  hand,  by  awkward  and  ungraceful 
motions,  and,  on  the  other,  by  studied  gesticulations,  has  led  to  the 
general  disuse  of  action  altogether;  and  has  induced  men  to  form  the 
habit ...  of  keeping  themselves  quite  still,  or  nearly  so,  when  speak- 
ing." 93 


"gesture"  under  the  head  of  rhetorical  pronuncia- 
to  say  upon  the  subject.94  Perhaps  he  felt,  as  did 
Whately,  that  "it  would  be  inconsistent  ...  to  deliver  any  precepts  for 
gesture;  because  the  observance  of  even  the  best  conceivable  pre- 
cepts, would,  by  destroying  the  natural  appearance,  be  fatal  to  their 
object.  .  .  ."  95 

Blair  doubts  the  value  of  Quintilian's  list  of  rules,  and  suggests  that 
"the  study  of  action  in  public  speaking,  consists  chiefly  in  guarding 
against  awkward  and  disagreeable  motions;  and  in  learning  to  perform 
such  as  are  natural  to  the  speaker  in  the  most  becoming  manner."  OG 
Whately  agrees,  and  argues  that  "no  care  should  be  taken  to  use  grace- 
ful or  appropriate  action;  which,  if  not  perfectly  unstudied,  will  always 
be  ...  intolerable.  But  if  any  one  spontaneously  falls  into  any  gestures 
that  are  unbecoming,  care  should  then  be  taken  to  break  the  habit."  97 


Whately  devotes  considerable  space  to  the  problem  of  stagefright, 
and  considers  it  a  problem  for  those  who  drop  the  "sheltering  veil"  of 
an  artificial  mode  of  delivery  and  adopt  a  natural  manner.  Blair  and 
Ward  touch  upon  it  in  short  paragraphs,  and  suggest  that  it  is  a  prob- 
lem peculiarly  common  to  those  who  are  just  beginning  to  speak  in 

Whately  reasons  that  the  cause  of  this  "embarrassed,  bashful,  nervous 
sensation"  is  the  close  relationship  between  audience  and  speaker.  The 
speaker  knows  that  every  fault  in  his  delivery  "makes  the  stronger  im- 
pression on  each  of  the  hearers,  from  their  mutual  sympathy,  and  their 
consciousness  of  it."  Ward  claims  that  the  problem  is  related  to  the 
degree  of  modesty  in  the  speaker  as  well  as  to  his  ambition  to  excel. 

Both  Blair  and  Whately  offer  the  same  advice.  The  speaker,  suggests 
Blair,  "will  find  nothing  of  more  use  to  him,  than  to  study  to  become 
wholly  engaged  in  his  subject;  to  be  possessed  with  a  sense  of  its  im- 
portance or  seriousness;  to  be  concerned  much  more  to  persuade  than 
to  please  ?  9S 

Kinds  of  Delivery 

list  three  forms  of  delivery:  speaking 


is  the  Better  form. 
Whatfily  writes  elaborately  concerning  the  superiority  6f  ffie  metlTod, 
and  recommends  that  the  extemporaneous  speaker  attempt  to  reach  the 


high  level  of  style  and  arrangement  which,  generally,  characterizes 
written  discourse." 

Ward  suggests  that  speaking  from  memory  provides  more  opportunity 
for  control  of  the  voice  and  for  the  use  of  bodily  action  than  does  the 
method  of  reading.  Campbell  recommends  that  the  preacher  read  from 
the  pulpit  because  speaking  extempore  requires  a  certain  "original  and 
natural  talent/'  and  because,  in  speaking  memoriter,  the  voice  falls 
into  a  "kind  of  tune."  Whately  suggests  that,  with  effort,  it  is  possible 
for  a  person  to  read  as  well  as  he  speaks.  He  discusses  three  levels 
of  good  reading:  correct  reading,  which  attempts  to  convey  the  sense 
of  the  material  read;  impressive  reading,  which  adds  to  correct  reading 
"some  adaptation  of  the  tones  of  the  voice  to  the  character  of  the  sub- 
ject, and  of  the  style";  and  fine  reading,  which  "seems  to  convey,  in 
addition,  a  kind  of  admonition  to  the  hearers  respecting  the  feelings 
which  the  composition  ought  to  excite  in  them."  10° 

English  theories  have  had  strong  and  permanent  impact  upon  Amer- 
ican instruction  in  rhetoric.  The  English  writers  to  whom  we  are  pri- 
marily indebted  are  John  Ward,  George  Campbell,  Hugh  Blair,  and 
Richard  Whately.  All  but  Ward  were  theologians.  Fundamentally  and 
basically,  the  theories  expounded  by  these  writers  follow  in  the  classical 
tradition.  Ward's  System  is  representative  of  the  many  English  works 
on  rhetoric  that  were,  with  only  slight  deviation,  exclusively  classical  in 
concept.  But,  of  these  four,  Ward  alone  looked  only  behind  himself. 
Campbell  was  strongly  influenced  by  Bacon's  insistence  upon  inductive 
reasoning  from  observed  facts,  and  by  the  empirical  psychology  of 
Hobbes,  Locke,  Hume,  and  Reid.  As  a  result,  his  Philosophy  initiated  a 
psychological-epistemological-semantic  trend  in  rhetorical  theory  that 
had  tremendous  influence  upon  American  thought.  Blair  added  to  the 
literature  of  his  day  still  another,  yet  sound,  treatise  on  genteel  criticism. 
His  Lectures  may  be  described  as  belles  lettristic-critical  in  trend.  They 
isolate  rhetoric  from  "logical  and  ethical  disquisitions"  and  locate  it 
with  studies  that  "sooth  the  mind,  gratify  the  fancy,  or  move  the  affec- 
tions," Invention  was  the  core  of  Whately's  theory;  but  his  philosophy 
of  delivery  was  romantic-naturalistic.  Consequently  his  Rhetoric  may 
be  characterized  as  inventional-naturalistic  in  trend.  It  initiated  the 
rapid  development  of  a  rhetoric  of  argumentation  and  debate.  Priest- 
ley's Lectures,  mentioned  here  only  because  they  round  out  the  picture 
of  trends  in  English  rhetorical  theory,  may  be  labelled  as  associationis- 
tic.  Without  question,  these  writers  bequeathed  to  modern  scholars  the 
very  best  rhetorics  that  had  been  written  since  the  time  of  Quintilian. 



1.  See  Warren  Guthrie,  "The  Development  of  Rhetorical  Theory  In  America," 
Speech  Monographs,  XIII  (1946),  14-22;  XIV  (1947),  38-54;  XV  (1948),  61-71; 
XVI  (1949)  ,98-1 13. 

2.  Ibid.,  XIII,  16-18;  Wilbur  Samuel  Howell,  "Ramus  and  English  Rhetoric: 
1574-1681,"  Quarterly  Journal  of  Speech,  XXXVII  (October,  1951),  299-310. 

3.  For  biographical  information  see  Douglas  Ehmnger,  "Jonn  Ward  and  -His 
Rhetoric,"  SM,  XVIII  (1951),  1-16. 

4  Another  English  treatise  that  adhered  more  or  less  slavishly  to  classical 
doctrine  and  is  worth  mention  here  is  John  Lawson's  Lectures  Concerning  Oratory 
(London,  1742).  See  Guthrie,  op.  tit.,  XIV,  41-44;  H.  F.  Harding,  English  Rhetori- 
cal Theory,  1750-1800,  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  Cornell  University,  1928; 
W.  F.  Sanford,  English  Theories  of  Public  Address,  1530-1828  (Columbus,  Ohio, 
1931);  Douglas  Ehninger,  "Dominant  Trends  in  English  Rhetorical  Thought/' 
Southern  Speech  Journal,  XVIII  (1953),  3-12;  Ray  E.  Keesey,  "John  Lawson's 
Lectures  Concerning  Oratory"  SM,  XX  ( 1953),  49-57. 

5.  A  System  of  Oratory,  2  vols.  (London,  1759),  p.  19.  Cf.  Quintilian,  Insti- 
tutes of  Oratory,  tr.  J.  S.  Watson  (London,  1856),  ii.  15,  1-37;  Cicero,  On  The 
Character  of  the  Orator,  tr.  J.  S.  Watson  (London,  1855),  i.  31. 

6.  Ward,  System,  I,  21.  Cf.  Cicero,  i.  11-15. 

7.  Cf.  Cicero,  ii,  29.  Quintilian,  lii.  5,  1-2. 

8.  Cf.  Quintilian,  in.  3,  1. 

9.  For  biographical  information,  see  George  Campbell,  Lectures  on  Ecclesiasti- 
cal History,  ed.  George  Skene  Keith  (London,  1800),  Vol.  I. 

10.  See  Guthrie,  op.  cit,  XV,  63-64. 

11.  See  Harding,  op.  cit.,  p.  140;  Clarence  W.  Edney,  "Campbell's  Lectures  on 
Pulpit  Eloquence,"  SM,  XIX  (1952),  1-10. 

12.  George  Campbell,  The  Philosophy  of  Rhetoric  (Boston,  1823),  Preface,  p. 
6;  Alta  B.  Hall,  George  Campbell's  Philosophy  of  Rhetoric,  Book  I,  unpublished 
Ph.D.  dissertation,  Cornell  University,  1934;  Clarence  W.  Edney,  George  Camp- 
bell's Theory  of  Public  Address,  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  Iowa,  1946;  John 
Crawford,  The  Rhetoric  of  George  Campbell,  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  North- 
western, 1947. 

13.  Richard  Whately,  Elements  of  Rhetoric  (London,  1841),  p.  12. 

14.  George  Campbell,  Lectures  on  Systematic  Theology  and  Pulpit  Eloquence 
(Boston,  1810),  p.  167. 

15.  Henry  Home  of  Kames,  Elements  of  Criticism  (Edinburgh,  1762). 

16.  Francis  Bacon,  The  Advancement  of  Learning  (London,  1605);  Novum 
Organum  (London,  1620). 

17.  John  Locke,  An  Essay  Concerning  Human  Understanding  (London,  1690), 

18.  David  Hume,  A  Treatise  of  Humm  Nature  (London,  1730-1740). 

19.  For  biographical  information  see  James  L.  Golden,  The  Rhetorical  Theory 
and  Practice  of  Hugh  Blair,  unpublished  Master's  thesis,  Ohio  State,  1948;  J.  Hall, 
Account  of  The  Life  and  Writings  of  Hugh  Blair  (London,  1807);  the  Dictionary 
of  National  Biography;  Robert  M.  Schmitz,  Hugh  Blair  (New  York,  1948). 

20.  Alexander  Jamieson's  Grammar  of  Rhetorical  and  Polite  Literature  (Lon- 
don, 1818)  was  another  English  work  that  followed  this  trend  and  was  widely  used 
in  American  colleges  as  an  introductory  text. 

21.  (Philadelphia,  1844),  p.  10. 

22.  Ibid.,  pp.  11-15. 

23.  Ibid.,  p.  10. 

24.  Ibid.,  p.  261. 

25.  For  biographical  information  see  W.  J.  Fitzpatrick,  Memoirs  of  Richard 
Whately  (London,  1864);  Reverend  T.  Mozley,  Reminiscences,  Chiefly  of  Oriel 
College  and  the  Oxford  Movement  (Boston,  1882);  W.  Tuckwell,  Reminiscences 


of  Oxford  (London,  1907);  E.  Jane  Whately,  Life  and  Correspondence  of  Richard 
Whately,  D.  D.  (London,  1866);  the  Dictionary  of  National  Biography.  For  the 
chief  work  on  Whatel/s  rhetoric,  see  W.  M.  Parrish,  "Whately  and  His  Rhetoric/* 
QJS,  XV  (1929),  58-79;  and  by  the  same  author,  "Richard  Whately's  Elements  of 
Rhetoric,  Parts  I  and  II:  A  Critical  Edition,"  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation, 
Cornell  University,  1929. 

26.  Richard  Whately,  Elements  of  Logic  (New  York,  1864). 

27.  Whately,  Rhetoric,  p.  30. 

28.  Whately's  well-known  handbook  on  Christian  Evidences  appeared  in  1837, 
and  was  translated  during  his  lifetime  into  at  least  a  dozen  languages. 

29.  (Dublin,  1781). 

30.  Blair,  Belles  Lettres,  p.  10;  Campbell,  Lectures,  p.  179;  Ward,  System,  I, 
48-49,  Whately,  Rhetoric,  pp.  16-32.  Cf.  Elbert  W.  Harrington,  Rhetoric  and  the 
Scientific  Method  of  Inquiry  (Boulder,  Colorado,  1948). 

31.  Whately,  Rhetoric,  Preface,  p.  x;  Campbell,  Philosophy,  p.  59.  Ward,  Sys- 
tem, I,  31-32.  Blair,  Belles  Lettres,  p.  12. 

32.  Cf.  Quintilian,  v.  10,  94. 

33.  Ward,  System,  I,  44-76. 

34.  Cf.  Quintilian,  iii.  6,  66-67. 

35.  Cf.  James  H.  McBurney,  "The  Place  of  the  Enthymeme  in  Rhetorical 
Theory/'  SM,  III  (1936),  49-74. 

36.  Quintilian,  v.  10,  11-16. 

37.  Thomas  Reid,  Essays  on  the  Intellectual  Powers  of  Man  ( Edinburgh,  1785 ). 

38.  Descartes,  Locke,  and  Mill  also  insisted  that  intuition  (or  perception)  was 
the  crux  of  any  attempt  to  explain  the  sources  of  knowledge.  Mill  declared  that 
"the  truths  known  by  intuition  are  the  original  premises  from  which  all  others  are 
inferred."  John  Stuart  Mill,  A  System  of  Logic  (New  York,  1873),  p.  4. 

39.  Cf.  Hume,  op.  cit.,  p.  332. 

40.  Campbell,  Philosophy,  pp.  61-84. 

41.  Clarence  W.  Edney,  "Campbell's  Theory  of  Logical  Truth/'  SM,   XV 
(1948),  19-32. 

42.  Rhetoric,  pp.  7,  36. 

43.  Ibid,  p.  39. 

44.  Ibid.,  p.  48. 

45.  Cf.  Orville  L.  Pence,  "The  Concept  and  Function  of  Logical  Proof  in  the 
Rhetorical  System  of  Richard  Whately,"  SM,  XX  (1953),  23-38. 

46.  See  The  Rhetoric  of  Aristotle,  ii.  25,  tr.  Lane  Cooper  (New  York,  1932), 
p.  180. 

47.  "Something  that  might,  conceivably,  be  submitted  to  the  senses,  and  about 
which  there  could  be  no  disagreement  among  persons  who  should  be  present  and 
to  whose  senses  it  should  be  submitted."  Cf.,  Locke,  op.  cit.,  IV.  16,  5. 

48.  When  the  conclusion  is  one  which  is  general  in  nature  or  which  assigns 
causes  and  which  has  demanded  an  exercise  of  judgment. 

49.  Whately,  Rhetoric,  pp.  62-75.  Cf.  Campbell,  Rhetoric,  pp.  82-84;  Locke, 
op.  cit.,  IV.  15,  4.  Whately  is  indebted  to  Campbell. 

50.  Whately,  Logic,  p.  256-258.  Cf.  Mill,  op.  cit.,  p.  225. 

51.  The  only  difference  between  Campbell's  theory  of  experience  and  that  of 
Whately  in  this  instance  is  pomt-of -reference,  one  epistemological,  the  other  logical. 

52.  Cf.  Aristotle,  op.  cit.,  ii.  25,  p.  177.  Cicero,  Rhetorical  Invention,  i.  42. 
Quintilian,  iv.  13,  1. 

53.  Cf.  Aristotle,  op.  cit.,  ii.  25,  p.  177. 

54.  Whately,  Logic,  pp.  168-250. 

55.  Campbell,  Philosophy,  pp.  146-174. 

56.  Whately,  Rhetoric,  pp.  195-197,  207-208;  Ward,  System,  I,  158. 

57.  Ward,  System,  I,  156-158;  Campbell,  Philosophy,  p.  107;  Blair,  Belles 
Lettres,  p.  385;  Whately,  Rhetoric,  p.  195. 

58.  Blair,  Belles  Lettres,  pp.  395-362. 


59.  Whately,  Rhetoric,  pp.  209-230. 

60.  Campbell,  Rhetoric,  pp.  111-126. 

61.  Locke,  Essay,  II.  21,  5-6. 

62.  System,  I,  140. 

63.  Campbell,  Rhetoric,  p.  129;  Ward,  System,  I5  141;  Blair,  Belles  Lett  res, 
p.  15;  Whately,  Rhetoric,  p.  208. 

64.  Whately,  Rhetoric,  p.  208.  Cf.  Aristotle,  op.  cit.,  ii.  1,  p.  92. 

65.  System,  I,  142-147. 

66.  Campbell,  Philosophy,  pp.  128-129. 

67.  Ibid.,  p.  129;  Whately,  Rhetoric,  pp.  246-247. 

68.  Whately,  Rhetoric,  p.  232. 

69.  Ibid.,  p.  257. 

70.  Ibid.,  p.  231;  Blair,  Belles  Lettres,  p.  147. 

71.  Whately,  Rhetoric,  p.  241. 

72.  Ibid.,  pp.  260-262. 

73.  Campbell,  Philosophy,  p.  130. 

74.  Cf.  Cicero,  ii.  76,  77.  See  Russell  H.  Wagner,  "The  Meaning  of  Dispositio" 
in  Studies  in  Speech  and  Drama  (Ithaca,  N.  Y.,  1944),  pp.  285-294;  Douglas 
Ehninger,  Selected  Theories  of  Inv&ntio  in  English  Rhetoric,  unpublished  Ph.D. 
dissertation,  Ohio  State,  1949. 

75.  Campbell,  Philosophij,  pp.  100-124. 

76.  Whately,  Rhetoric,  pp.  239. 

77.  Ward,  System,  pp.  110-424. 

78.  Cf,  Cicero,  iii,  52. 

79.  Blair,  Belles  Lettres,  pp.  101-205. 

80.  Cf.  Bacon,  op.  cit.,  pp.  19-32;  Hobbes,  Leviathan,  I.  4,  25;  R.  I,  Aaron, 
John  Locke  (London,  1937),  pp.  95-208;  Hume,  op.  cit.,  p.  320.  See  Alfred  Kor- 
zybski,  Science  and  Sanity  (Lancaster,  Pa.,  1948). 

81.  Campbell,  Lectures,  pp.  181-200. 

82.  Cf.  Quintilian,  ix,  3,  2. 

83.  Ibid.,  viii,  2,  1. 

84.  Campbell,  Philosophy,  pp.  175-475. 

85.  Ibid.,  p.  18. 

86.  Whately,  Rhetoric,  pp.  263-379. 

87.  Blair,  Belles  Lettres,  p.  365;  Whately,  Rhetoric,  p.  381;  Ward,  System,  I, 
314-316;  Campbell,  Lectures,  pp.  196-211. 

88.  Blair,  Belles  Lettres,  p.  376;  Whately,  Rhetoric,  pp.  390,  401,  410-421; 
Campbell,  Lectures,  p.  200;  Ward,  Si/stem,  I,  319,  382-383. 

89.  Campbell,  Lectures,  p.  197. 

90.  Blair,  Belles  Lettres,  pp.  366-368. 

91.  Ward,  System,  I,  329-343, 

92.  Ibid.,  I,  344-359. 

93.  Whately,  Rhetoric,  p.  448. 

94.  Campbell,  Lectures,  p.  198. 

95.  Whately,  Rhetoric,  p.  451. 

96.  Blair,  Lectures,  p.  375. 

97.  Whately,  Rhetoric,  p.  450. 

98.  Ibid.,  pp.  420-430;  Blair,  Belles  Lettres,  p.  376. 

99.  Ward,  System,  I,  381-384;  Campbell,  Lectures,  pp.  205-208;  Whately, 
Rhetoric,  pp.  385-447. 

100.  Ward,  System,  I,  382;  Campbell,  Lectures,  p.  208;  Whately,  Rhetoric, 
pp.  385,  404-406. 

i)      English  Sources  of  American  Elocution 


As  a  modern  study  elocution  originated  in  England.  In  its  first  half 
century,  from  1750  to  1800,  it  Was  accepted  in  America  as  readily  as  in 
its  native  land,  and  in  the  next  century  cultivated  even  more  assidu- 
ously. The  Americans,  in  the  early  stages  of  the  movement's  history, 
republished  British  authors,  copied  them  with  or  without  acknowledge- 
ment, modified  and  adapted  their  teachings  to  meet  their  situations. 
In  the  later  stages,  they  folded  in  a  new  French  influence.  Meanwhile, 
they  were  creating  a  movement  in  America  which  possessed  attributes 
of  independence  as  well  as  adaptation. 

In  other  essays  in  this  volume  may  be  found  discussions  of  the  de- 
velopment of  elocution  in  America.  We  shall  here  be  concerned  with 
the  phenomenon  of  elocution  in  England:  with  the  genesis  of  the  move- 
ment; with  the  characteristics  of  the  movement— its  scope,  methodology, 
divisions,  and  terminology;  with  the  authors  and  books  which  were  the 
substance  of  the  elocutionary  ideas;  and  with  the  host  of  other  elocu- 
tionary books  which  followed  in  the  train  of  the  movement. 

The  Genesis  of  the  Elocutionary  Movement 

Elocution  concentrated  on  man  speaking.  It  emerged  from  the  eight- 
eentiTcgflttt^^  investigafcioa^of-^ie  rhetorical  canon  of  delivery. 

Delivery,  to  be  sure,  had  been  studied  in  all  ages  and  in  all  nations  of 
the  western  world  prior  to  1750,  but  the  elocutionary  movement  was 
an  examination  of  delivery  so  specialized  in  nature  and  content  as  to 
differ  in  kind  from  former  studies.1  This  phenomenon  was  the  result  of 
several  eighteenth-century  forces  working  in  concatenation. 

Just  as  the  seventeenth  century  was  a  century  of  criticism  of  style,  so 
the  eighteenth  was  one  of  criticism  of  delivery.  Inevitably,  the  criticism 
feir^n^tTGEaviTy  on*  tr^teptes^  Occupants  of  the  English  pulpit.  Rich- 
ard Steele 2  in  the  pages  of  the  Spectator  wrote  disparagingly  of  their 
"rakish,  negligent  air"  and  their  habit  of  "lolling  on  their  books/'  Jon- 



athan  Swift,  acutely  aware  of  the  layman's  grumbling  about  the  dull- 
ness of  church  services,  laid  the  blame  on  whomever  he  was  talking  to. 
To  his  congregation,  Swift  said  that  it  was  his  parishioners'  gluttony  and 
not  the  preacher's  dullness  which  caused  them  to  go  to  sleep;  besides 
that,  it  was  absurd  to  expect  superb  oratory  from  all  preachers  on  all 
occasions.3  To  the  clergy,  however,  he  observed  that  the  reading  of 
sermons,  especially  with  the  head  "held  down  from  the  beginning  to 
the  end,  within  an  inch  of  the  cushion"  must  be  roundly  condemned,4 
A  satirical  poem  by  Dr.  Byram  makes  the  same  point: 

For,  what's  a  sermon,  good,  or  bad, 
If  a  man  reads  it  like  a  lad? 
To  hear  some  people,  when  they  preach, 
How  they  lun  o'er  all  parts  of  speech, 
And  neither  raise  a  word,  nor  sink; 
Our  learned  bishops,  one  would  think, 
Had  taken  school-boys  from  the  rod, 
To  make  ambassadors  of  God,5 

The  faults  of  delivery  most  commonly  noted  by  the  critics  of  the 
eighteenth  century  were  frigidity,  inertness,  colorlessness,  vulgarity, 
absent-minded  reading.  Lord  Chesterfield,  that  untiring  expositor  of 
the  worldly  education  of  the  man  of  position,  limned  the  ideal  to  be 
achieved:  "a  most  genteel  figure,  a  graceful  noble  air,  an  harmonious 
voice,  an  elegancy  of  style,  and  a  strength  of  emphasis/' 6 

The  elocutionary  movement  was  also  a  direct  outgrowth  of  the 
seventeenth-  and  eighteenth-century  interest  in  the  English  language. 
In  bringing  the  language  to  full  stature  in  the  seventeenth  century,  the 
English  had  discovered,  somewhat  to  their  surprise,  that  they  could 
legitimately  be  proud  of  their  native  tongue.  Along  with  their  pride 
ran  a  concurrent  sentiment:  to  make  the  language  an  even  more  noble 
instrument  by  standardizing  and  improving  it  in  all  its  aspects,  both 
written  and  spoken. 

Many  of  those  who  dealt  professionally  with  language  advocated  the 
establishment  of  an  English  Academy  which  would  legislate  on  the 
purity  and  beauty  of  the  tongue,  In  1660  R.  H.,  in  1679  Dryden,  in  1697 
Defoe,  in  1712  Swift  supported  the  founding  of  a  society  which  would 
"polish  and  refine  the  English  tongue."  r 

The  Academy  was  not  founded  until  1901,  but  these  pleas  in  support 
of  one  resulted  in  the  making  of  dictionaries  to  increase  knowledge 
about  the  individual  words  that  make  up  the  language  and  in  the  mak- 
ing of  grammars  to  improve  the  handling  of  words  in  collocation.  Con- 
cern about  improvement  of  the  written  aspects  of  the  language  was 
matched  by  correlative  concern  over  the  oral  aspects.  John  Evelyn,  for 


example,  chairman  of  a  committee  on  the  improvement  of  the  English 
tongue  appointed  by  the  Royal  Society  in  1664,  proposed: 

That  there  might  be  invented  some  new  periods  and  accents,  besides  such 
as  our  grammarians  and  critics  use,  to  assist,  inspirit,  and  modifie  the  pronun- 
^iation  of  sentences,  and  to  stand  as  markes  before  hand  how  the  voyce  and 
^fone  is  to  be  governed,  as  in  reciting  of  playes,  reading  of  verses,  etc.,  for  the 
varying  the  tone  of  the  voyce  and  affections,  etc.8 

The  lexicographers  of  the  eighteenth  century  undertook  the  invention 
of  ways  to  implement  the  first  idea  implied  in  Evelyn's  proposal:  the 
correct  phonation  of  words  in  isolation.  Bailey  in  1731,  Kenrick  in  1773, 
and  Ash  in  1775  adopted  devices  of  syllabification,  accent  and  stress 
marks.9  At  this  point,  the  elocutionists  turned  to  lexicography,  Thomas 
Sheridan's  dictionary  of  1780  was  the  most  complete  guide  to  pronun- 
ciation until  Walker's  dictionary  appeared  eleven  years  later.10 

The  study  of  phonation  in  individual  words  led  naturally  to  investi- 
gation of  the  second  idea  implied  in  Evelyn's  proposal:  the  devising  of 
ways  to  indicate  inflection,  pause,  force,  and  rate  in  the  delivery  of 
words  in  connected  discourse.  Such  investigation  resulted  in  the  publi- 
cation of  treatises  on  voice  management,  complete  with  symbolic  sys- 
tems making  it  theoretically  possible  to  render  the  language  with  grace 
and  correctness.  These  treatises  on  voice  management  were  manuals 
of  elocution. 

Another  reason  for  the  interest  in  delivery  and  for  the  development 
of  the  art  of  elocution  was  the  perception"that  power  in  oral  presenta- 
tion was  an  instrument  of  public  persuasion.  Buffon,  .well  known  in 
England,  said  in  his  famous  discourse  of  1753  that  the  requisites  for 
arousing  the  crowd  are  a  "vehement  and  affecting  tone,  expressive  and 
frequent  gestures,  rapid  and  ringing  words."  1:L  Charles  Palmer,  Deputy- 
Sergeant  to  the  House  of  Commons,  wrote  as  one  of  his  maxims  that 
delivery  "is  the  very  life  and  soul  of  eloquence. . . .  The  art  of  oratory 
is  never  so  great  and  potent  by  the  things  that  are  said,  as  by  the  manner 
of  saying  them."  12 

Not  only  in  parliament  but  also  in  the  pulpit  was  oral  presentation 
thought  to  have  a  persuasive  effect.  Competence  retained  the  congrega- 
tions; incompetence  lost  them. 

The  parliamentary  audience  is  a  specialized  one;  so,  in  some  senses, 
is  the  religious  audience.  But  the  elocutionists  were  aware  also  of  the 
emerging  mass  audience  in  the  eighteenth  century,  created  by  the  im- 
mense diffusion  of  knowledge.  Lecky  says  that  the  effect  of  this  diffu- 
sion of  knowledge  was  such  that  "all  important  controversies  became 
in  their  style  and  method  more  popular."  13  Popularization  meant  that 
ideas  addressed  to  this  mass  audience,  eager  for  knowledge  and  leaders, 


should  be  invested  with  more  immediacy,  more  vividness,  more  sim- 
plicity, and  more  clarity  not  only  in  composition,  but  also  in  delivery. 

The  general  interest  in  delivery  so  noticeable  after  1750  is  traceable 
in  part  to  the  renewed  popularity  of  the  theatre,  to  the  development  of 
a  new  style  of  stage  delivery  that  revealed  the  potentialities  of  the  lan- 
guage, to  the  personal  influence  of  the  great  actor  David  Garrick,  to 
the  pedagogy  of  the  two  actors,  Sheridan  and  Walker,  who  adapted 
stage  delivery  to  certain  forms  of  social  discourse,  and  to  the  recogni- 
tion that  the  training  of  a  young  speaker  might  well  include  emulation 
of  the  best  actors  and  practical  exercise  in  dramatic  presentation.14 

Finally,  the  elocutionary  movement  arose  as  a  response  to  the  de- 
mands of  the  age  for  training  and  educating  its  rising  generation.  Good 
speakers  were  in  demand;  society  lavished  extensive  favors  upon  those 
who  spoke  well.  Burgh,  headmaster  of  a  boys'  school,  spoke  of  the  need 
for  a  "competent  address  and  readiness"  in  "parliament,  at  the  bar,  in 
the  pulpit,  at  meetings  of  merchants  in  committees  for  managing  pub- 
lic affairs."  15  Sheridan  remarks  that  "promotion,  or  honour  to  individ- 
uals, is  sure  to  attend  even  a  moderate  share  of  merit"  in  good  public 
reading  or  speaking.16  William  Enfield  said  that  "there  are  few  persons 
who  do  not  daily  experience  the  advantages"  of  a  "just  and  graceful 
elocution."  17 

Practical  need  for  expertness  in  delivery,  as  presented  by  complain- 
ing auditors  or  felt  by  ambitious  speakers;  philological  and  linguistic 
investigations  into  pronunciation  and  inflectional  patterns;  recognition 
of  the  persuasive  effect  of  pleasing  delivery;  the  emergence  of  a  new 
convention  of  dramatic  presentation  that  invested  delivery  of  spoken 
language  with  a  new  liveliness;  the  acknowledgment  of  competence  in 
speaking  as  a  part  of  general  education— all  these  forces  acting  together 
in  the  eighteenth  century  inspired  the  most  intensive  study  of  delivery 
ever  undertaken. 

Characteristics  of  the  Elocutionary  Movement 

Sheridan  gave  elocution  its  broadest  definition,  one  that  compre- 
hended the  work  of  the  elocutionists  for  over  a  hundred  years: 

A  just  delivery  [Sheridan  says]  consists  in  a  distinct  articulation  of  words, 
pronounced  in  proper  tones,  suitably  varied  to  the  sense,  and  the  emotions  of 
the  mind;  with  due  observation  of  accent;  of  emphasis,  in  its  several  grada- 
tions; of  rests  or  pauses  of  the  voice,  in  proper  place  and  well  measured  de- 
grees of  time;  and  the  whole  accompanied  with  expressive  looks,  and  signifi- 
cant gesture.18 

This  "just  delivery"  fitted  either  the  rhetorical  situation  or  the  inter- 
pretational  situation.  The  elocutionists,  it  is  true,  concentrated  in  their 


pedagogical  techniques  more  upon  the  practice  of  reading  aloud,  than 
on  the  delivery  of  original  speeches.  Rice  in  1765  and  Cockin  in 
1775,  for  instance,  were  interested  solely  in  the  art  of  reading  aloud.19 
There  is  implicit,  however,  in  the  writings  of  many  elocutionists,  the 
retention  of  a  relationship  between  training  in  reading  aloud  and  the 
delivery  of  an  extemporaneous  speech  at  the  bar  or  from  the  well  of  a 
legislative  assembly.  Mason  says  that  his  book  on  elocution  is  "intended 
chiefly  for  the  assistance  of  those  who  instruct  others  in  the  art  of 
reading.  And  of  those  who  are  often  called  to  speak  in  publick."  20 
Walker  says  that  "as  reading  is  a  correct  and  beautiful  picture  of 
speaking;  speaking,  it  is  presumed  cannot  be  more  successfully  taught, 
than  by  referring  us  to  such  rules  as  instruct  us  in  the  art  of  reading,"  21 
Sheridan  concurs.  He  points  out  that  the  aim  of  public  speaking  is  persua- 
sion, that  persuasion  cannot  be  accomplished  without  the  appearance 
of  earnestness,  that  earnestness  of  delivery  can  best  be  learned  through 
elocution.  Whether  the  goal  of  the  elocutionists  was  the  creation  of  the 
graceful  reader  or  the  persuasive  speaker  or  both,  the  technique  was 
that  of  supplying  principles  and  rules  and  systems  of  notation  in  con- 
junction with  a  skillful  teacher  for  the  better  mastery  of  the  printed 


The  printed  page,  the  voice,  language,  and  the  body  as  used  in  oral 
presentation  supplied  the  material  upon  which  the  movement  brought 
philosophy,  rules,  principles,  notation,  and  a  master's  insight  to  bear. 
In  devising  ways  to  analyze  these  materials  the  elocutionists  used  the 
precepts  of  ancient  rhetoric  and  the  practices  of  the  stage.  But  a  new 
force,  operating  over  a  period  of  some  decades,  eventually  gave  the 
movement  its  distinctive  turn. 

That  force  was  science.  It  is  the  elocutionists'  primary  claim  to  fame 
in  rhetorical  history  that  they  applied  the  tenets  of  science  to  the 
physiological  phenomena  of  spoken  discourse,  making  great  contribu- 
tions to  human  knowledge  in  that  process. 

The  spirit  of  the  elocutionary  movement,  like  that  of  science,  was 
one  of  independence,  of  originality,  of  a  break  with  tradition. 

The  methodology  of  the  elocutionary  movement,  like  that  of  science, 
was  a  combination  of  observing  and  recording.  Just  as  the  astronomer 
observed  the  movements  of  the  planets  and  recorded  them  in  special 
symbols,  so  the  elocutionists  observed  certain  phenomena  of  voice, 
body,  and  language,  and  recorded  them  in  systems  of  notation.  The 
elocutionists  who  contributed  most  to  the  movement  are  those  whose 
work  is  characterized  by  exhaustive  analysis  based  on  observation,  by 
systematic  organization,  and  by  the  invention  of  systems  of  symbolic 

The  philosophy  of  the  elocutionary  movement,  like  that  of  the  scien- 


tific-rationalistic  creed.,  was  a  conception  of  man  controlled  by  natural 
Jaw.  The  elocutionists  believed  that  the  nature  of  man  was  governed  by 
the  same  law  and  order  which  seventeenth-century  science  had  dis- 
covered in  the  nature  of  the  universe.  They  could  claim  that  their  rules 
and  principles  and  systems  represented  the  order  that  is  found  in 
nature;  they  were  "nature  still,  but  nature  methodized."  The  phrase 
"follow  nature"  meant  in  general  that  the  rational  order  found  in  the 
universe  should  be  reproduced  in  books;  and  it  meant  in  the  field  of 
delivery  that  the  laws  of  elocution  must  approximate  as  closely  as  pos- 
sible the  laws  of  life.22 

The  elocutionists  of  the  eighteenth  century  generally  referred  to  their 
subject  as  an  art.  Rarely  did  they  use  the  word  science  or  the  word 
scientific.  But  as  the  century  neared  its  completion,  the  subsidiary  sub- 
jects investigated  became  more  and  more  "scientific"  in  the  sense  that 
elocution  tended  to  be  concerned  with  speech  correction,  with  the 
anatomy  of  vocal  physiology,  and  with  the  physics  of  sound  production. 
Many  writers  of  the  nineteenth  century-Thelwall,  Rush,  Bell,  Plumptre, 
for  example— looked  upon  elocution  as  a  science.23 

Scientific  or  artistic,  the  maxims  and  theoretical  precepts  which 
teacher  and  pupil  were  expected  to  master  were  diverse.  For  con- 
venience in  examination  we  may  profitably  group  the  contributions  of 
the  elocutionists  into  four  divisions. 

The  division  of  bodily  action  included  all  the  signs  of  visual  com- 
munication, such  as  modifications  of  facial  expression,  manner  and 
attitude,  movement  of  arms  and  legs.  The  qualities  of  gesture  or  of 
bodily  action  most  frequently  sought  were  those  of  grace  and  force. 
Though  the  elocutionists  set  up  no  hard  and  fast  dichotomy  of  method 
for  the  attaining  of  these  two  qualities,  it  seems  apparent  that  there 
were  two  levels  of  training  in  their  systems.  The  one  was  that  of  simple 
practice  in  the  use  of  bodily  actions,  such  as  the  sweep  of  the  arm,  the 
pointing  of  the  finger,  the  clasping  of  the  hands.  This  was  the  gesture 
of  technical  training.  The  other  was  that  of  the  complex  action  required 
to  communicate  the  passions.  This  was  the  gesture  of  emotional  expres- 
sion. The  elocutionists  implied  that  the  appropriate  gesture  of  emotional 
expression  gave  force  to  delivery;  and  they  inferred  that  studious  atten- 
tion to  the  technique  of  controlling  bodily  action  lent  it  grace.  To 
accompany  their  descriptive  and  sometimes  prescriptive  accounts  of 
bodily  actions,  the  elocutionists  eventually  invented  symbols  to  repre- 
sent them. 

The  division  of  vpicejmaageramt  j^mj^ 

ful  manipulation  *of  EnglislL8sgund$.  The  elocutionists  wished  to  make 
tEe  voice  into  a  resilient  instrument,  capable  of  reading  with  variety 
and  effectiveness.  Vocal  flexibility,  buoyancy,  responsiveness  to  mean- 


ing  and  innuendo,  control— such  were  the  qualities  which  the  elocu- 
tionists sought.  This  division  included  definition  and  expert  discussion 
of  the  elements  of  voice  management,  among  them  accent,  emphasis, 
pause,  pitch,  force,  rhythm,  tone;  it  included  the  formulation  of  bodies 
of  principles  in  some  instances,  of  bodies  of  rules  in  others,  and  the 
development  of  rational  systems,  complete  with  notation,  for  the  proper 
handling  of  the  voice. 

The  division  of  pronunciation  took  account  of  the  actual  phonation  of 
words.  In  trying  to  ameliorate  dialectal  variations  from  the  "standard" 
pronunciation,  to  excise  vulgar  pronunciations,  and  to  remedy  .mistaken 
pronunciations,  the  elocutionists,  perforce,  became  lexicographers.  Both 
Walker  and  Sheridan,  at  an  early  date  in  the  movement,  began  to  work 
on  methods  for  standardizing  pronunciation  and  for  devising  a  nota- 
tion by  which  the  correct  pronunciation  would  be  immediately  appar- 
ent. In  other  words,  they  were  looking  for  ways  to  systematize  pronun- 
ciation just  as  they  had  systematized  the  management  of  the  voice  and 
the  actions  of  the  body.  Sheridan  produced  a  dictionary  in  1780  making 
use  of  a  device  new  to  lexicography:  the  respelling  of  the  word  to  be 
pronounced  into  a  loose  phonetic  script.  Walker,  in  his  dictionary  of 
1791,  says  of  his  own  method: 

[It]  divides  the  words  into  syllables,  and  marks  the  sounds  of  the  vowels 
like  Dr.  Kenrick,  spells  the  words  as  they  are  pronounced  like  Mr.  Sheridan, 
and  directs  the  inspector  to  the  rule  by  the  word  like  Mr.  Nares;  but,  where 
words  are  subject  to  different  pronunciations  . .  .  produces  authorities  for  one 
side  and  the  other,  and  points  out  the  pronunciation  which  is  preferable.24 

In  the  division  of  vocal  production  the  elocutionists  attended  to  the 
problem  of  the  actual  formation  of  the  sounds  of  speech.  Their  insist- 
ence that  oral  delivery  be  both  pleasurable  and  persuasive  presupposed 
that  the  pupil  was  capable  of  producing  speech  sounds— if  not  pleasant 
sounds,  at  least  recognizable  ones.  A  pupil  who  lisped  or  stammered 
could  not  become  a  polished  speaker  so  long  as  he  retained  his  defective 
utterance.  Of  all  the  divisions  of  elocution,  this  one  had  been  the  least 
cultivated  by  any  predecessors  of  the  elocutionists.  Little  was  known 
about  the  anatomy  of  the  speech  mechanism,  much  less  about  the 
nature  of  speech  sounds,  and  virtually  nothing  about  speech  therapy. 
In  this  division,  the  elocutionists  addressed  themselves  to  three  prob- 
lems: the  identification  of  English  sounds,  the  manner  in  which  those 
sounds  were  produced,  and  the  impediments  which  might  interfere 
with  the  production  of  those  sounds. 

The  elocutionists  employed  terms  which  had  long  been  common- 
place in  rhetorical  history,  but  they  used  them  with  the  new  significa- 
tion that  emerged  during  the  eighteenth  century.  The  years  1625-1725 


form  the  great  divide  between  two  periods  in  which  the  technical  defi- 
nitions of  the  terms  style.,  elocution,  and  pronunciation  differed  signifi- 
cantly. Whereas  pronunciation  once  embraced  the  whole  field  of  deliv- 
ery, it  later  signified  the  correct  phonation  of  words  in  isolation. 
Elocution,  which  once  meant  the  manner  of  artistic  composition,  be- 
came identified  with  the  manner  of  artistic  delivery.  Style,  once  a 
subsidiary  synonym  for  elocution,  later  comprehended  the  whole  canon 
of  the  choice  and  arrangement  of  words. 

Certain  characteristics  of  the  intermediate  century,  1625-1725,  explain 
these  changes  in  interpretation.  These  years  were  notable  for  the  reac- 
tion from  the  excesses  of  the  rhetoric  of  exornation  with  which  elocu- 
tion, especially,  was  intimately  identified;  for  the  spreading  influence 
of  the  scientific  method;  and  for  the  development  of  linguistic  scholar- 
ship. These  forces  fused  into  a  destructive  energy  that  drove  the  theories 
and  practices  of  the  rhetoric  of  exornation,  together  with  its  specialized 
terminology,  into  oblivion;  but  at  the  same  time,  they  generated  a  con- 
structive impulse  that  led  to  the  formulation  of  a  new  set  of  theories 
and  practices  to  take  the  place  of  the  old. 

The  criticism  of  exornation  was  sharp.  In  1643,  Howell  called  it  "the 
disease  of  our  time";  Wilkins,  Barrow,  South,  Arderne,  Eachard,  Glanvil, 
and  others  condemned  "the  hard  words,  abstruse  and  mysterious 
notions,  the  affected  use  of  scraps  of  Greek  and  Latin,  pretty  cadences, 
fantastic  phrases,  and  rhetorical  figures  of  all  kinds."  25  These  attacks 
doomed  exornation;  and  elocution,  a  word  frequently  used  as  title  for 
this  conception  of  rhetoric,  shared  the  obloquy  along  with  the  subject 
matter.  The  reaction  from  exornation,  plus  the  impetus  of  the  scientific 
method,  led  to  a  re-examination  of  the  laws  of  the  language  and  the 
principles  and  purposes  of  prose.  In  the  course  of  this  re-examination 
pronunciation,  style,  and  elocution  obtained  their  new  meaning  and 
status.  Let  us  see  briefly  how  these  new  meanings  came  about. 

Linguistic  scholars  strove  to  solidify,  purify,  and  standardize  the 
language.  In  that  process,  it  became  important  to  discover  the  correct 
phonation  for  words  and  to  employ  a  term  that  would  indicate  this 
special  province  of  linguistic  study.  The  term  employed,  of  course,  was 
pronunciation.  The  term  was  satisfactory  in  many  ways:  it  had  etymo- 
logical claim  to  the  required  meaning;  it  had  always  possessed,  in  Eng- 
lish rhetorical  theory,  a  secondary  definition  equivalent  to  the  new 
requirement;  and  it  was  willingly  given  this  primary  meaning  by  the 
new  writers  who  were  interested  in  oral  presentation. 

The  scientific  and  scholarly  impulses  that  produced  these  linguistic 
investigations,  produced  also  a  revolutionary  change  in  the  conception 
:>f  what  constituted  good  prose,  The  "vicious  Abundance  of  Phrase/7 


condemned  by  the  Royal  Society,  gave  way  to  the  slide  rule  and  geo- 
metrical unity.26  Prose  became  "functional";  utility  supplanted  artifice. 
In  analyzing  the  new  prose,  literary  critics  shifted  their  attention  from 
the  speaker  to  the  writer,  partly  because  written  prose  lent  itself  to 
more  scientific  scrutiny,  and  partly  because  these  scholars  were  more 
interested  in  the  fine  art  of  literature  than  in  the  useful  art  of  oratory. 
Having  given  up  the  term  elocution,  the  critics  needed  a  new  term. 
Style  was  at  hand.  It  served  admirably  because  of  its  relative  etymolog- 
ical purity,  its  straightforward,  uncontaminated  history,  its  intimate 
connection  with  writing,  and  its  tenuous  relation  to  oratory. 

The  new  investigators  of  oral  presentation  also  needed  a  term.  Four 
were  at  hand.  Pronunciation,  the  traditional  term,  would  no  longer 
suffice  because  it  had  been  given  a  restricted  meaning,  one  which  the 
new  group  could  use  very  nicely.  Another  term  was  action.  Derived 
from  actio  and  possessing  some  of  the  sanction  of  classical  rhetoric, 
especially  Cicero's,27  the  term  was,  however,  too  limited  in  scope.  For 
action  referred  specifically  to  overt  physical  motion  and  tended  to  ex- 
clude voice  management.  A  third  term  was  the  modern  word  delivery. 
But  it  was  too  modern.  Adapted  from  the  French  dSlivrer,  the  primary 
signification  of  the  word  in  England  ( as  in  its  native  land  it  is  still  the 
main  signification)  was  "to  set  free"  whether  by  spear,  by  habeas  corpus, 
or  by  midwife.  The  term  later  achieved  currency  in  the  language  of  law, 
of  sport,  of  physical  deportment,  and  by  1806,  in  the  language  of  rheto- 
ric, although  there  are  scattered  examples  of  its  use  in  this  sense  before 
this  date.  The  fourth  term,  elocution,  seemed  satisfactory.  It  was  etymo- 
logically  pure.  The  sense  of  oral  presentation  of  expression  was,  in  fact, 
more  closely  related  to  the  etymology  of  the  word  than  was  the  sense 
of  style  or  manner  or  composition.  It  was  a  word  traditionally  connected 
with  rhetoric.  It  was  a  close  relative  of  the  word  eloquence.  And  on  the 
principle  that  respectability  is  determined  by  the  company  one  keeps, 
it  could  shake  off  the  disrepute  of  exornation  when  associated  with  the 
virtue  of  the  new  oral  presentation. 

Authors  and  Books 

The  elocutionary  movement  may  best  be  understood  by  an  examina- 
tion of  tfie  boots  which  were  produced  in  its  name.  There  were  hun- 
dreds published.  Some  of  them,  those  that  contained  the  substance  of 
the  elocutionary  ideas,  established  the  subject.  These  books  were  origi- 
nating accounts  or  investig^^  such  as  those  by  Mason, 
Burghy  Skeridan,  Walker,  Austnvand  Bell  Another  category  was  that 
of  the  manual  designed  for  use  in  the  professions,  such  as  the  manual 


o£  clerical  elocution.  A  third  was  that  of  books  for  school  and  home 
use:  the  reasoned  textbooks,  the  volumes  containing  text  and  illustra- 
tive anthology,  and  the  books  of  elegant  extracts. 

Of  the  originating  accounts,  John  Mason's  An  Essay  on  Elocution,  or 
Pronunciation  (1748)  is  the  first  book  to  include  the  word  elocution  in 
its  title.28  This  short  work  deals  with  "the  right  Management  of  the 
Voice  in  reading  or  speaking."  29  The  author  finds  a  difference  between 
the  two.  Reading,  he  says,  must  "express  the  full  Sense  and  Spirit  of 
your  Author"  and  speaking  must  be  "suitable  to  the  Nature  and  Impor- 
tance of  the  Sentiments  we  deliver."  30  His  advice  is  simultaneously 
applicable  to  both. 

Section  I  deals  with  a  bad  pronunciation  and  how  to  avoid  it;  Sec- 
tion II  with  a  good  pronunciation  and  how  to  attain  it.  Mason  con- 
stantly recurs  to  the  philosophy  epitomized  in  a  statement  from  Burnet's 
Pastoral  Care  which  he  quotes  with  approval: 

He  that  is  inwardly  persuaded  of  the  Truth  of  what  he  says,  and  that  hath 
a  Concern  about  it  in  his  Mind,  will  pronounce  with  a  natural  Vehemence 
that  is  far  more  lovely  than  all  the  Strains  that  Art  can  lead  to. .  .  .31 

Although  he  knows  that  the  best  advice  is  to  "make  the  Ideas  seem  to 
come  from  the  Heart,"  he  cannot  avoid  the  prescriptive  rules  which 
became  a  commonplace  in  the  elocutionary  movement;  for  example,  "A 
Comma  stops  the  Voice  while  we  may  privately  count  one,  a  Semi-colon 
two;  a  Colon  three:  and  a  Period  four." 32 

James  Burgh,  the  eminent  headmaster  of  an  academy  at  Stoke  New- 
ington  which  he  founded  in  1747,  was  a  successful  writer  on  political 
philosophy  whose  only  book  on  oratory  was  The  Art  of  Speaking 

Part  I  of  this  book  is  an  essay  "in  which  are  given  Rules  for  expressing 
properly  the  principal  Passions  and  Humors,  which  occur  in  Reading, 
or  Public  Speaking."  34  Part  II  is  an  anthology  of  readings,  with  glosses 
referring  to  the  passions  defined  in  the  essay. 

The  essay  contains  directions  to  students  on  the  vocal  management  of 
certain  types  of  sentences  and  certain  types  of  material,  an  exposition 
of  physical  demeanor  in  depicting  seventy-six  different  "humors  or 
passions,"  35  and  some  vigorously  penned  general  observations  on  ora- 
tory. The  most  striking  part  of  the  book  is  the  section  in  which  Burgh 
shows  how  the  principal  emotions  are  expressed  by  attitudes,  looks, 
gestures,  and  language.  The  opening  lines  of  his  description  of  despair 
are  typical  of  the  vehemence  and  intensity  his  analyses  call  for: 

Despair  . . .  bends  the  eyebrows  downward;  clouds  the  forehead;  rolls  the 
eyes  around  frightfully;  opens  the  mouth  toward  the  ears;  bites  the  lips;  widens 
the  nostrils;  gnashes  with  the  teeth,  like  a  fierce  wild  beast.36 


The  idea  held  by  Burgh  that  "nature  has  given  to  every  emotion  of 
the  mind  its  proper  outward  expression/' 37  and  the  correlative  idea 
that  various  physical  features,  such  as  the  eye,  are  capable  of  projecting 
this  expression,  while  not  new  in  rhetorical  history,  were  eagerly  made 
a  part  of  the  elocutionary  movement.  Burgh's  conception  and  intensive 
analysis  of  these  ideas  were  given  circulation  in  at  least  seven  British 
editions  and  eight  American  reprintings  of  his  work.  He  was  read  by 
Sheridan,  paraphrased  by  Walker,  anthologized  by  Scott,  pirated  by  an 
American  publisher,38  quoted  by  Austin,  and  recalled  in  one  way  or 
another  by  elocutionists  for  over  a  century. 

In  1756  at  the  age  of  thirty-seven,  after  his  career  as  actor  and  stage 
manager  had  ended  in  failure,  Thomas  Sheridan  found  a  new  vocation 
as  teacher,  lecturer,  and  author  in  elocution.  Aside  from  the  Works  of 
Swift  with  Life  (1784),39  Sheridan's  publications  deal  with  three  sub- 
jects, education,  pronunciation,  and  elocution,  though  these  three  may 
be  considered  as  facets  of  his  one  main  interest,  speech.  The  central 
proposition  of  his  three  works  on  education  is  that  oratory,  properly 
taught  (by  Mr.  Sheridan,  of  course),  will  eliminate  the  disorders  in 
England.40  Sheridan's  two  works  on  pronunciation,  the  Dictionary 
(1780)  and  the  Grammar  (1780),41  fulfilled  a  linguistic  need,  advanced 
the  theory  of  phonetics,  and  fixed  pronunciation  as  one  of  the  divisions 
of  elocution. 

His  three  works  dealing  more  specifically  with  reading  and  speaking 
are  published  lectures.  In  A  Discourse  being  Introductory  to  a  Course 
of  Lectures  on  Elocution  and  the  English  Language.,  delivered  at  Ox- 
ford in  1759,42  Sheridan  made  a  plea  for  the  study  of  spoken  language, 
for  the  employment  of  properly  qualified  masters  of  elocution  in  a 
revised  educational  system,  and  for  the  encouragement  of  research  in 
the  principles  and  rules  of  elocution.  Sheridan's  most  important  work 
is  Lectures  on  Elocution  published  in  1762.43  In  this  series  of  seven 
lectures,  he  provided  the  working  definition  of  elocution,  established 
his  philosophy,  and  discussed  articulation,  pronunciation,  accent,  em- 
phasis, tones  or  notes  of  the  speaking  voice,  pauses  or  stops,  key  or 
pitch,  management  of  the  voice,  and  gesture.  Lectures  on  the  Art  of 
Reading  (1775)44  repeats  much  of  the  doctrine  published  thirteen 
years  earlier,  but  is  notable  for  its  inclusion  of  his  simple  symbolic  code, 
and  of  his  phonetic  analysis  of  speech  sounds. 

Sheridan's  ideal  delivery  was  characterized  by  grace,  sincerity,  and 
naturalness.  When  he  began  his  work,  he  leaned  heavily  on  the  teach- 
ings of  Cicero  and  Quintilian  and  on  the  application  to  the  lectern  of 
his  experience  with  the  British  stage.  As  accretions  were  made  to  the 
methodology  of  elocution,  he  adopted  certain  new  techniques,  among 
them  a  code  of  his  own  invention,  symbolizing  emphases,  pauses  of 


varying  duration,  rapidity,  long  and  short  syllables.  Sheridan  was  the 
movement's  greatest  early  figure.  He  gave  definition  and  categories  to 
the  study;  he  conducted  a  vigorous  propaganda  for  its  acceptance, 
reaching  large  audiences  through  his  lectures  and  his  books;  and  he 
practiced  brilliantly  his  own  art. 

Joshua  Steele  was  a  prosodist,  a  musical  theorist,  a  business  man,  a 
reformer,  and,  by  accident,  an  elocutionist  because  he  wrote  a  book 
which  greatly  influenced  the  course  of  the  movement.45  Prosodia  Ra- 
tiondis  (1775  and  1779 )46  is  a  series  of  tracts,  a  record  of  the  cor- 
respondence between  Lord  Monboddo  and  Steele,  both  of  whom  were 
interested  in  the  phenomena  of  language  and  speech.  Steele  convinced 
Monboddo  that  speech  has  melody  and  rhythm.  He  showed  that  this 
melody  was  a  kind  of  tune  or  pitch  pattern  inherent  in  speech;  that  this 
rhythm  was  a  recurrence  of  measured  quantity  which  depends  upon 
the  nature  of  language  and  upon  an  inner  understanding  of  context 
externalized  by  the  outward  manifestation  of  voice.  To  demonstrate  his 
theses,  he  analyzed  spoken  speech  according  to  musical  principles, 
showing  how  speech  moved  up  and  down  the  musical  scale  by  slides, 
the  intervals  between  syllables  being  almost  infinitesimal.  By  contrast 
the  intervals  between  notes  on  a  musical  staff  were  easily  distinguish- 
able. Since  speech  melody  could  not  be  precisely  rendered  by  literal 
musical  symbolization,  Steele  invented  a  new  notation  for  speech  con- 
sisting of  curved  lines  or  slides.  Having  taken  the  initial  step  in  the 
notation  of  voice  management,  he  went  on  to  design  symbols  for  other 
factors  of  voice,  including  a  set  of  phonetic  characters  which  seem 
remarkable  for  his  time. 

With  this  system,  Steele  hoped  that  one  might  sight-read  a  discourse 
as  he  might  a  score  of  music  and  that  one  might  preserve  for  posterity 
the  performances  of  superb  actors  and  orators.  He  illustrated  his  hopes 
with  a  transcription  of  a  soliloquy  as  delivered  by  David  Garrick,  in 
which  he  used  the  musical  staff,  the  clef,  the  time  signature,  and  indi- 
cators for  rate,  pause,  pitch,  force,  and  stress.  But  in  these  aspirations 
he  was  to  fail  where  later  the  phonograph,  the  tape  recorder,  and  the 
cinema  were  to  succeed. 

Steele  influenced  the  prosodists,  among  them  Odell,  Roe,  Chapman, 
and  Coventry  Patmore,47  as  well  as  the  elocutionists.  Walker  borrowed 
heavily  from  him  (and  with  virtually  no  acknowledgment);  Thelwall 
as  heavily  (but  with  acknowledgment);  Austin,  Smart,  Barber,  Rush, 
Comstock,  Murdock— elocutionists  on  both  sides  of  the  Atlantic  em- 
ployed in  one  way  or  another  his  new  analyses  of  the  phonetic,  dynamic, 
and  prosodic  components  of  speech. 

John  Walker,  like  Thomas  Sheridan,  was  thirty-seven  years  old  when 
he  quit  the  stage  and  turned  to  teaching,  lecturing,  and  writing  on  elo- 


cution  to  earn  a  livelihood.  His  life  offers  astonishing  parallels  to  Sheri- 
dan's. Both  of  them  were  actors,  theatre  managers,  educators,  lecturers, 
writers,  and  lexicographers.  But  they  differed  in  mental  constitution. 
Sheridan  was  an  observer,  Walker  a  lawgiver;  Sheridan  formulated 
generalizations,  Walker  established  a  system;  Sheridan  was  more  the 
pleader  who  sought  a  revival  of  oratorical  training,  Walker  more  the 
pedagogue  who  decided  the  methods  to  be  used  in  that  training. 

Walker  published  many  works  on  pronunciation,  elocution,  and  com- 
position. In  matters  of  pronunciation,  he  became  the  eighteenth-century 
embodiment  of  an  English  Academy.  The  principal  work  of  his  life, 
A  Critical  Pronouncing  Dictionary  and  Expositor  of  the  English  Lan- 
guage (1791),48  has  been  called  "the  statute  book  of  English  ortho- 
epy." 49  His  school  manuals  on  grammar  and  composition  were  pot- 
boilers written  late  in  life  after  he  had  earned  widespread  fame  as  a 
lexicographer  and  elocutionist. 

Walker  published  six  books  on  elocution.50  The  Exercises  -for  Im- 
provement in  Elocution  (1777),  dedicated  to  Garrick,  is  a  collection  of 
readings.  The  Elements  of  Elocution  ( 1781 ) ,  his  most  important  rhetor- 
ical work,  is  a  systematic  presentation  of  a  theory  of  elocution.  Hints 
for  Improvement  in  the  Art  of  "Reading  (1783),  is  a  brief  summary  of 
the  Elements.  A  Rhetorical  Grammar  (1785)  unites  the  old  canons  of 
rhetoric  with  the  new  ones  of  elocution.  Melody  of  Speaking  Delineated 
(1787)  explains  a  method  of  teaching  elocution  by  means  of  signs 
adapted  from  musical  notation.  The  Academic  Speaker  ( 1789)  is  a  book 
of  extracts  for  declamatory  practice,  introduced  by  two  essays  on  ges- 
ture and  acting. 

The  basic  idea  in  Walker's  Elements  of  Elocution  is  that  the  reader 
obtains  harmony  of  sound  and  achieves  fidelity  to  the  author's  purpose 
by  applying  the  inflections  found  in  nature  to  the  various  grammatical 
forms  utilized  by  the  author.  The  sense,  emphasis,  suspension,  com- 
pleteness, force,  and  pitch  contained  in  grammatical  forms  are  released 
in  spoken  discourse  through  employment  of  the  four  inflections— rising, 
falling,  and  two  circumflex  inflections.  Walker's  exhaustive  analysis  of 
the  interplay  of  inflection  and  grammatical  form  resulted  in  an  elabo- 
rate system  of  rules  governing  the  elements  of  vocal  technique. 

His  claim  that  he  discovered  the  inflection  is  not  to  be  credited  too 
seriously,  for  Steele  wrote  about  upward  and  downward  slides  six  years 
before  Walker  published  Elements.5*  But  his  application  of  the  theory 
of  slides  to  grammatical  forms  is  undoubtedly  original.  Walker  pro- 
foundly influenced  the  elocutionary  movement. 

In  1806,  the  Reverend  Gilbert  Austin  published  Chironomia;  or  a 
Treatise  on  Rhetorical  Delivery,  a  quarto  volume  of  600  pages,  hand- 
somely bound  and  printed,  and  available  at  £2.2s.52  Of  his  seven  other 


publications,  one  is  a  sermon,  and  six  are  on  scientific  and  mechanical 
subjects  such  as  barometers,  carbonic  acid  gas,  and  condensers. 

In  Chironomia,  Austin  sought  to  give  to  the  public  some  rules  and 
precepts  by  which  the  national  oratory  might  be  improved,  to  compile 
a  virtual  anthology  of  quotations  from  the  most  renowned  ancient  and 
modern  rhetoricians  on  the  subject  of  delivery,  to  provide  a  scientifically 
exhaustive  analysis  of  gesture,  and  to  popularize  a  set  of  agglutinative 
symbols  by  which  delivery  might  be  recorded  with  brevity  and  preci- 

When  he  examined  the  possible  positions  of  the  arms  in  gesture, 
Austin  sloughed  off  tradition,  eliminated  the  context  of  meaning  in 
speaking,  and  observed  only  what  positions  the  arms  were  capable  of 
taking.  His  examination  was  physiological  in  nature;  his  method  one  of 
abstract  spatial  analysis.  To  obtain  a  pattern  for  the  notation  of  ann 
positions,  he  imagined  the  speaker  inside  a  sphere.  Every  point  at 
intervals  of  45°  on  this  sphere  had  a  symbol.  For  example,  the  right 
arm  can  take  five  positions  when  operating  laterally  from  the  body:  Z 
is  overhead,  h  is  horizontal,  R  is  straight  down,  d  is  midway  between 
horizontal  and  down,  e  is  midway  between  horizontal  and  overhead. 
Thus  Austin  could  denote  on  a  line  of  poetry,  say,  directions  for  arm 
positions  in  much  the  same  way  that  Beethoven  could  place  marks  on 
a  piece  of  paper  for  a  pianist  to  follow. 

In  addition  to  the  "scientific"  method  just  described,  Austin  used  other 
methods  when  describing  gesture.  For  positions  of  the  hands,  he  used 
the  method  of  classification  by  categories;  for  gestures  of  head  and  eyes, 
the  method  of  arbitrary  selection;  and  for  complicated  action  to  express 
complex  emotional  states,  the  method  of  conventional  designation. 

Chironomia  had  only  one  British  and  no  American  edition,  but  it 
exerted  an  enormous  influence  upon  elocutionists.  In  England,  A.  M. 
Hartley  called  it  "incomparably  the  ablest  treatise  on  delivery  in  gen- 
eral, that  has  yet  appeared  in  our  language/' 53  In  America,  a  host  of 
writers,  among  them,  Caldwell,  Bronson,  Bacon,  Fulton  and  Trueblood, 
and  as  late  as  1916,  Joseph  A.  Mosher,  were  indebted  to  this  extraordi- 
nary book.54 

Alexander  Melville  Bell  taught  in  Newfoundland,  Edinburgh,  Lon- 
don, Queens  College  in  Canada,  Lowell  Institute  in  Boston.  Acclaimed 
wherever  he  went,  he  seems  to  have  been  the  international  dean  of  the 

In  his  forty-nine  publications,56  Bell  touched  almost  every  part  of 
the  art  and  science  of  elocution,  but  he  made  his  most  original  and  most 
enduring  contribution  to  the  subject  in  the  division  of  vocal  produc- 
tion.57 In  this  area,  he  came  close  to  realizing  the  hundred-year-old 
dream  of  the  elocutionists— that  of  discovering  the  physiological  means 


by  which  each  speech  sound  is  produced,  of  classifying  those  sounds 
scientifically,  and  of  inventing  a  notation  that  would  include  a  symbol 
for  every  sound.  His  task  was  to  find  a  rational  basis  upon  which  to 
establish  a  symbolic  system.  Previous  investigators  had  begun  with 
sounds  and  then  had  tried  to  describe  the  physiological  positions  of  the 
articulative  organs  when  producing  them.  What  Bell  did  was  to  begin 
with  physiological  positions  of  the  organs  and  then  determine  what 
sounds  he  could  make.  Then,  by  modifying  in  a  systematic  way  each  of 
the  articulators  in  turn,  he  obtained  different  sounds  which  formed  a 
concatenated  progression.  He  could  thus  account  for  any  sound  made 
by  the  human  voice,  whether  an  orthodox  sound  of  a  national  language, 
or  one  of  sneezing,  snoring,  grunting,  or  spitting.  He  discharged  the 
second  half  of  his  task  by  inventing  symbols  which  "depicted"  the 
actions  of  the  organs  forming  the  sound,  thus  earning  their  title  of 
"Visible  Speech."  Although  visible  speech  had  faults,  its  virtues  were 
many,  and  its  influence  widespread.58  It  became  the  basis  of  Henry 
Sweet's  Broad  Romic  which  in  turn  became  the  basis  of  the  IP  A,  and  it 
earned  Bell  a  line  in  George  Bernard  Shaw's  preface  to  Pygmalion. 

Elocution  Manuals 

The  major  books  which  we  have  so  far  examined  established  the  basic 
ideas  of  elocution.  Some  of  them  gave  definition  and  scope  to  the  sub- 
ject; others  were  investigative  treatises,  records  of  research  that  pushed 
outward  the  bounds  of  the  subject  and  made  contributions  to  human 
knowledge.  Many  of  these  books  were  used  in  the  classroom,  but  only, 
of  course,  for  mature  or  advanced  students.  So,  along  with  the  complete 
accounts  of  the  subject  and  the  detailed  surveys  of  its  divisions,  an- 
other type  of  book  appeared  as  a  part  of  the  movement— the  manual  of 

There  were,  in  general,  two  categories  of  manuals,  those  intended  for 
practitioners  of  the  professions,  and  those  intended  for  school  and  nome 
use,  /, 

Most  numerous  of  the  professional  manuals  were  those  written  for 
tlajM^ergy.  First  to  provide  the  application  of  the  new  theory  of  elocu- 
tion to  the  various  arts  of  the  church  service  was  Anselm  Bayly  in  two 
books,  A  Practical  Treatise  on  Singing  and  Playing  (1771)59  and  The 
Alliance  of  Musick,  Poetry,  and  Oratory  (1789).60  John  Wesley's  little 
book  of  a  dozen  pages,  costing  one  penny,  summarized  much  of  Mason's 
advice  and  exemplified  the  author's  profound  respect  for  brevity  and 
economy.61  James  Wright's  The  Philosophy  of  Elocution  (1818),62 
contains  a  long  elucidation  of  the  office  of  the  minister,  200  pages  of 
voice  management  (the  principles  being  paraphrased  from  Sheridan 


and  the  system  of  notation  adapted  from  Walker),  and  175  pages  of 
liturgies  of  the  church  painstakingly  marked  for  delivery.  The  Rev- 
erend John  Henry  Hewlett's  Instructions  in  Reading  the  Liturgy  of  the 
United  Church  of  England  and  Ireland  ( 1826 ) 6S  analyzes  the  pitfalls  of 
church  oratory,  provides  sixty  pages  of  advice  on  voice  management, 
interprets  and  marks  fifty  liturgical  pieces,  using  a  notational  system 
of  commas,  dashes,  accents,  hyphens,  capitals,  asterisks,  circles,  and 
superior  numbers  referring  back  to  rules. 

An  unusual  book  on  elocution  for  the  clergy  was  Garrick's  Mode  of 
Reading  the  Liturgy  of  the  Church  of  England  (1840)  by  Richard 
Cull64  Cull's  opening  essay  on  the  analogy  between  music  and  speech 
is  written  in  the  tradition  of  Joshua  Steele.  The  rest  of  the  book  is  a 
re-editing  of  material  which  had  previously  been  published.65  The  gen- 
eral method  used  for  explaining  Garrick's  technique  is  to  quote  a  line  of 
the  service,  and  then  to  comment  on  the  manner  in  which  Garrick 
delivered  it,  or  vice  versa.  For  example: 

When  speaking  the  three  following  words,  Mr.  Garrick  recommended  a 
look,  expressive  of  the  utmost  suitable  gravity,  to  be  cast  slowly  around  the 
congregation,  the  voice  rather  low,  and  denoting,  together  with  the  whole 
manner,  that  solemn  and  reverential  respect  which  is  due  to  the  place  of  pub- 
lic worship. 

Dearly  beloved  brethren. 
Here  make  a  pause  much  longer  than  the  comma 6G 

The  main  objectives  of  the  authors  of  manuals  of  clerical  elocution 
were  to  provide  instruction  in  the  use  of  voice  and  body  and  to  help  in 
the  interpretation  of  the  various  liturgies.  The  study  of  elocution  may 
have  been  of  some  value  in  helping  to  rid  church  oratory  of  its  worse 
external  faults,  such  as  indistinctness,  monotonous  droning,  and  inau- 
dibility. But  it  must  be  doubted  that  pulpit  oratory  could  achieve  the 
warmth  and  spirit  and  animation  so  desired  by  the  critics  until  there 
was  general  realization  that  a  sermon  was  different  from  an  essay— that 
it  was  hewn  from  granite,  not  delicately  modeled  with  clay. 

There  were  hundreds  of  manuals  of  elocution  published  between 
1750  and  1900  which  were  intended  primarily  for  use  in  schools  but 
which  could  sometimes  double  for  use  in  the  home.  Commonest  of  the 
school  manuals  was  the  book  containing  an  introductory  text  and  an 
anthology  of  pieces  for  reading  or  declaiming. 

In  the  later  eighteenth  century,  manuals  by  William  Enfield,  John 
Walker,  and  William  Scott  rolled  up  a  wave  of  popularity  that  carried 
them  into  the  nineteenth  century.  Enfield's  The  Speaker  (1774)67  con- 
tained 150  pieces  suitable  for  Saturday  "Speech  Day/'  prefaced  by  a 
short  essay  that  compressed  elocution  into  eight  rules.  Scott's  Lessons 


in  Elocution  (1779)68  went  through  more  than  a  score  of  editions  in 
England  and  the  United  States.  The  book  contained  nothing  original. 
American  publishers  prefaced  their  editions  with  four  essays  on  de- 
livery borrowed  from  Walker  and  Burgh.  Walker's  Academic  Speaker 
(1789),69  written  for  young  scholars,  contributed,  in  addition  to  a  set 
of  extracts,  an  essay  on  gesture  copied  later  in  many  books  and  one  on 
the  relation  between  acting  and  speaking. 

The  distinctive  feature  of  Henry  Innes'  Elocution,  its  Principles  and 
Practices  (c.  1834) 70  is  its  allotment  of  space  in  the  introductory  text 
to  the  division  of  vocal  production,  in  which  he  describes  the  vocal 
mechanism,  identifies,  and  suggests  remedies  for  certain  speech  defects. 

A.  M.  Hartley  used  a  device  that  became  increasingly  popular  during 
the  nineteenth  century.  In  the  final  part  of  the  introductory  text  of 
The  Academic  Speaker  (1846),71  he  names  various  emotional  states 
and  describes  the  physical  action  required  to  express  each.  In  the 
anthology,  he  places  superior  numbers  over  certain  words.  For  example, 
he  inserts  eighteen  different  numbers  in  the  text  of  Chatham's  speech 
against  the  American  war.  To  find  the  name  of  the  emotion,  the  reader 
refers  to  the  number  key  in  the  headnote;  after  finding  the  name,  he 
refers  to  the  essay  which  describes  the  appropriate  action.  The  head- 
note  to  Chatham's  speech  reads  in  part: 

1.  Resolute  and  angry  remonstrance.  2.  Indignant  appeal  to  honour.  3. 
Lofty  pride  and  regret. ...  16.  One  of  the  finest  strokes  of  oratory  ever  pro- 
duced—finger of  the  right  hand  sublimely  pointed  to  the  tapestry  of  the 
Armada,  eyes  fixed  on  EfEngham  with  ineffable  scorn. . .  ,72 

Taken  all  in  all,  these  books  of  text  and  anthology  surveyed  the 
totality  of  the  field  of  elocution,  but  few  of  them  were  complete  ac- 
counts in  themselves.  The  division  given  most  space  was  that  of  voice 
management,  followed  far  in  the  rear  by  vocal  production,  bodily 
action,  and  pronunciation. 

Closely  related  to  this  genre  and  intended  not  only  for  the  school, 
but  eteo  for  the  hearth  where  reading  was  a  "favorite  entertainment  of 
the  social  circle,"  73  were  volumes  of  elegant  extracts.  Typical  is  Mrs. 
Fanny  Palliser's  The  Modern  Poetical  Speaker  ( 1845)  ,74  This  book  of  five 
hundred  pages,  with  a  preface  but  no  introductory  text,  was  the  first 
general  anthology  to  include  a  good  set  of  footnotes  to  explain  hard 
passages,  to  identify  obscure  allusion,  and  to  provide,  in  some  cases, 
factual  background  for  a  proper  appreciation  of  the  piece.  Furthermore, 
Mrs.  Palliser  did  not  alter  a  word  without  putting  the  substitute  in 
italics;  she  always  used  asterisks  to  indicate  lines  deleted;  and  she  did 
not  "improve"  the  pieces  according  to  her  own  lights.  The  practice  of 
"improving"  selections  was  commonplace  enough.  John  Thelwall  in  his 


anthology,  for  example,  quoted  the  first  ninety-four  lines  of  Collins' 
"The  Passions,  an  Ode";  then,  deleting  Collins'  last  stanza,  substituted 
sixty-eight  lines  from  his  own  pen  which  differed  from  the  pattern  of 
the  original  poem  in  theme,  cadence,  and  rhyme.75 

The  book  of  elegant  extracts  was  executed  according  to  an  implicit 
code:  theory  must  be  cut  to  a  minimum  or  eliminated  entirely;  the  great 
masters  should  have  a  place  of  honor;  the  modern  poets  should  be 
given  a  niche;  no  shocking  word  should  pass  the  printer;  extracts  from 
the  big  three  of  early  nineteenth-century  England  should  be  included 
-Mrs.  Hemans,  Southey,  and  Scott;  and  by  and  large,  it  was  to  be 
borne  in  mind  that  American  authors  were  not  quite  ready  for  canoni- 

The  reasoned  textbook  of  some  length,  the  third  type  of  manual, 
appealed  to  advanced  students,  mature  minds,  teachers,  and  educators; 
if  was  carefully  organized  and  fully  illustrated  with  examples;  it  might 
contain  a  relatively  short  set  of  selections;  and  it  possessed  an  air  of 
scholarship  and  philosophical  completeness.  One  of  the  best  correlated 
and  most  philosophical  of  the  textbooks  is  Benjamin  Humphrey  Smart's 
The  Theory  of  Elocution  (1819).76  Each  of  the  first  three  chapters  of 
Theory  corresponds  to  a  division  of  the  field  of  elocution:  "Mechanical 
Reading"  corresponds  to  vocal  production,  the  subject  matter  being 
articulation;  "Significant  Reading"  to  voice  management,  the  subject 
matter  being  inflection;  and  "Impassioned  Reading"  to  bodily  action, 
the  subject  matter  being  looks,  tones,  and  gestures.  The  last  two  chap- 
ters are  further  explorations  of  the  implications  of  impassioned  reading. 

The  purposes  animating  the  authors  of  the  school  manuals  were  not 
always  the  same,  and,  of  course,  an  author  might  have  more  than  one 
purpose  in  his  book.  There  were,  in  the  main,  however,  three  objectives 
that  the  manuals  sought  to  achieve.  The  first  of  these  was  the  acquisi- 
tion of  elocutionary  effectiveness:  delivery  of  discourse  with  distinct 
and  pleasing  articulation,  graceful  modulation,  and  decorous  demeanor. 
A  second  purpose,  overlaid,  to  be  sure,  on  the  first,  was  the  inculcation 
of  moral  excellence.  Toward  the  end  of  the  period  under  consideration, 
there  was  an  increasing  number  of  authors  who  laid  claim  to  the  teach- 
ing of  moral  precepts  and  respectable  conduct.  Likewise  a  third  purpose 
appeared  with  more  and  more  frequency:  the  development  of  a  taste 
for  culture  and  quality. 

Both  the  purposes  and  the  books  which  the  elocutionists  ^wrote  to 
accomplish  them,  were  eagerly  accepted  in  America.  The  demand  for 
elocution  in  this  nation  being  as  great  or  even  greater  than  it  was  in 
England,  it  is  no  wonder  that  the  British  found  a  market  here  for  their 
books,  or  that  piratical  publishers  should  look  for  the  cheapest  way  to 
capture  the  market,  or  that  a  band  of  indigenous  writers  should  arise 


to  challenge  the  supremacy  of  the  originators  of  the  movement  and 
eventually  to  take  over  its  direction. 


1.  For  more  complete  studies  of  the  elocutionary  movement,  see  Mary  Margaret 
Robb,  Oral  Interpretation  of  Literature  in  American  Colleges  and  Universities  ( New 
York,  1941);  Daniel  E.  Vandraegen,  "The  Natural  School  of  Oral  Reading  in  Eng- 
land,  1748-1828,"  unpublished  Ph.D.   dissertation,  Northwestern,    1949;   Harold 
Friend  Harding,  "English  Rhetorical  Theory,  1750-1800,"  unpublished  Ph.D.  dis- 
sertation, Cornell  University,  1937;  Frederick  W.  Haberman,  "The  Elocutionary 
Movement  in  England,  1750-1850,"  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  Cornell  Uni- 
versity, 1947,  which  I  have  used  freely;  and  Warren  Guthrie,  "The  Development 
of  Rhetorical  Theory  in  America,   1635-1850— V:   the  Elocutionary  Movement- 
England,"  Speech  Monographs,  XVIII  (1951),  17-30. 

2.  The  Spectator,  No.  147  (1711).  Also  see  Joseph  Addison  on  this  topic  in 
No.  407  (1712). 

3.  "On  Sleeping  in  Church,"  The  Works  of  Jonathan  Swift,  ed.  Walter  Scott 
(Edinburgh,  1814),  VIII,  143. 

4.  "A  Letter  to  a  Young  Clergyman,"  Works,  VIII,  347. 

5.  Quoted  by  James  Burgh,  The  Art  of  Speaking  (London,  1762),  p.  216. 
Burgh  obtained  it  from  James  Fordyce,  The  Art  of  Preaching  ( Glasgow,  1755 ) . 

6.  The  Letters  of  P.  D.  Stanhope,  Earl  of  Chesterfield,  ed.  Lord  Mahon  (Lon- 
don, 1845-1853),  I,  366.  The  date  of  this  letter  is  1749.  For  similar  comments  see 
Letters  of  Philip  Dormer,  Fourth  Earl  of  Chesterfield  to  his  Godson  and  Successor, 
ed.  Earl  of  Carnarvon  (London,  1890),  p.  391;  and  for  more  complete  study  of  his 
views  see  Donald  C.  Bryant,  "The  Earl  of  Chesterfield's  Advice  on  Speaking," 
Quarterly  Journal  of  Speech,  XXXI  (December,  1945),  411. 

7.  The  quotation  is  from  "Essays  Upon  Several  Projects,"  The  Works  of  Daniel 
De  Foe,  ed.  William  Hazlitt  (London,  1840-1843),  III;  Swift,  "A  Proposal  for 
Correcting,  Improving,  and  Ascertaining  the  English  Tongue,"  Works,  IX,  355;  John 
Dryden,  Dedication  of  Troilus  and  Cressida;  R.  H.,  New  Atlantis,  cited  by  Edmund 
Freeman,  "A  Proposal  for  an  English  Academy  in  1660,"  Modern  Language  Review, 
XIX  (July,  1924),  291-300. 

8.  In  a  letter  to  Sir  Peter  Wyche,  1665.  See  J.  E.  Spingarn,  Critical  Essays  of 
the  Seventeenth  Century  (London,  1908),  II,  310-312.  In  a  letter  to  Samuel  Pepys 
in  1689,  Evelyn  refers  to  his  work  on  this  committee  and  to  his  idea  of  an  Academy 
for  the  "Art  and  Improvement  of  speaking  and  writing  well"  ( p.  327 ) . 

9.  Nathan  Bailey,  Universal  Etymological  English  Dictionary  (London,  1731); 
William  Kenrick,  A  New  Dictionary  (London,  1773);  John  Ash,  New  and  Com- 
plete Dictionary  of  the  English  Language  (London,  1775). 

10.  Thomas  Sheridan,  A  General  Dictionary  of  the  English  Language  ( London, 
1780);  John  Walker,  A  Critical  Pronouncing  Dictionary  and  Expositor  of  the 
English  Language  (London,  1791). 

11.  "Discourse  on  Style,"  trans,  and  ed.  Lane  Cooper  in  Theories  of  Style  (New 
York,  1907),  p.  171. 

12.  Aphorisms  and  Maxims  (London,  1748),  Maxim  108. 

13.  W.  E.  H.  Lecky,  A  History  of  England  in  the  Eighteenth  Century  (London, 
1887),  VI,  166. 

14.  Karl  Mantzius,  A  History  of  Theatrical  Art  (London,  1909),  V,  383  ff.; 
Joseph  Knight,  David  Garrick  (London,  1894),  p.  25  ff. 

15.  Burgh,  p.  154. 

16.  Thomas  Sheridan,  Lectures  on  Elocution  (London,  1762),  p.  1. 

17.  The  Speaker  (London,  1780),  Introduction. 

18.  Lectures,  p.  10. 


19.  John  Rice,  An  Introduction  to  the  Art  of  Reading  with  Energy  and  Propriety 
(London,  1765);  William  Cockin,  The  Art  of  Reading  Written  Language,  or,  an 
Essay  on  Reading  ( London,  1775 ) . 

20.  John  Mason,  An  Essay  on  Elocution,  or  Pronunciation  (London,  1748),  title 

21.  John  Walker,  Elements  of  Elocution  (London,  1781),  I,  2. 

22.  Despite  the  claim  that  they  "follow  nature,"  the  elocutionists  have  sometimes 
been  labeled  "mechanists"  as  well  as  "naturalists."  For  vaiying  interpretations  on 
this  question  see  James  A.  Winans,  "Whately  on  Elocution,"  QJS,  XXXI  (February, 
1945),  1-3;   Charles  A,  Fritz,  "From  Sheridan  to  Rush,"  QJS,  XVI   (February, 
1930),  82 £E.;  Wayland  Maxfield  Parrish,  "The  Concept  of  'Naturalness/"  QJS, 
XXXVII  (December,  1951),  448-454;  Robb,  op.  cit.,  16-69  passim;  Haberman, 
op.  cit.,  49-67  passim;  Vandraegen,  op.  cit.  passim,  and  his  "Thomas  Sheridan  and 
the  Natural  School,"  SM,  XX  (1953),  58-64,  Richard  D.  Harper,  "The  Rhetorical 
Theory  of  Thomas  Sheridan,"  unpubl.  Ph.D.  dissertation,  Wisconsin,   1951,  pp. 
200  ff. 

23.  John  Thelwall,  "Introductory  Discourse  on  the  Nature  and  Objects  of  Elo- 
cutionary Science"  (London,  1805);  A.  S.  Thelwall,  A  Lecture  on  the  Importance 
of  Elocution  in  Connexion  with  Ministerial  Usefulness  (London,  1850);  James 
Rush,  The  Philosophy  of  the  Human  Voice  (Philadelphia,  1827),  Introduction;  A. 
M.  Bell,  Principles  of  Elocution  (Edinburgh,  1849),  Preface;  C.  J.  Plumptre,  Kings 
College  Lectures  in  Elocution  (London,  1881),  p.  226. 

24.  Critical  Pronouncing  Dictionary,  p.  9. 

25.  See  Spingarn,  Critical  Essays,  "IV,  The  Trend  Toward  Simplicity,"  pp. 

26.  Thomas  Sprat,  The  History  of  the  Royal  Society  of  London  (London,  1667), 
4th  ed.  (London,  1734),  p.  112. 

27.  Quintilian,  Institutio  Oratoria,  XI,  iii,  2,  6;  Cicero,  Brutus,  XXXVIII. 

28.  (London). 

29.  Mason,  Elocution,  p.  5. 

30.  Ibid.,  p.  22. 

31.  Ibid.,  p.  32. 

32.  Ibid.,  pp.  23-24. 

33.  (London). 

34.  Title  page. 

35.  Professor  Parrish  is  the  latest  scholar  to  count  them.  See  footnote  5  in  "The 
Burglarizing  of  Burgh,  or  the  Case  of  the  Purloined  Passions/'  QJSf  XXXVIII 
(December,  1952),  433. 

36.  P.  173.  Pagination  refers  to  the  edition  retitled  "On  Public  Speaking"  and 
bound  with  Sheridan's  Rhetorical  Grammar  (Philadelphia,  1783). 

37.  Burgh,  p.  166. 

38.  See  note  35,  supra. 

39.  (London),  18  vols. 

40.  British  Education,  or  the  Source  of  the  Disorders  of  Great  Britain  ( London, 
1756),  A  General  View  of  the  Scheme  for  the  Improvement  of  Education  (Dublin, 
1757);  A  Plan  of  Education  for  the  Young  Nobility  and  Gentry  of  Great  Britain 
(London,  1769). 

41.  Thomas  Sheridan,  A  General  Dictionary  of  the  English  Language  (London, 
1780),  2  vols.  A  Rhetorical  Grammar  was  published  originally  in  England  as  a 
preface  to  the  Dictionary.  It  was  published  separately  in  America  under  the  editor- 
ship of  Archibald  Gamble  (Philadelphia,  1783).  This  American  edition  contains  a 
seventy-page  appendix  entitled  "On  Public  Speaking,"  a  reprinting  without  credit 
of  Part  I  of  Burgh's  The  Art  of  Speaking  (London,  ed.  of  1775).  Several  investiga- 
tors, with  this  volume  in  their  hands,  have  erroneously  ascribed  authorship  to 

42.  (London). 


43.  (London). 

44.  (London). 

45.  See  John  B.  Newman,  "Joshua  Steele:  Prosody  in  Speech  Education/'  un- 
published Ph  D.  dissertation,  New  York  University,  1950;  by  the  same  author,  "The 
Phonetic  Aspect  of  Joshua  Steele's  System  of  Prosody/'  SM,  XVIII  (1951),  279- 
287;  and  "The  Role  of  Joshua  Steele  in  the  Development  of  Speech  Education  in 
America/'  SM,  XX  (1953),  65-73. 

46.  See  Newman,  "Phonetic  Aspect/*  footnote  1,  for  a  discussion  of  the  title  and 
the  two  editions  of  this  book. 

47.  T.  S.  Omond,  English  Metrists  (London,  1921),  94  et  passim;  George  Saints- 
bury,  A  History  of  English  Prosody  (London,  1908),  II,  548  passim. 

48.  ( London) ,  28th  ed.  in  1826. 

49.  DNB. 

50.  Place  of  publication  for  all  six  is  London. 

51.  See  Newman,  "Role  of  Joshua  Steele." 

52.  (London). 

53.  The  Oratorical  Class-Book  (Glasgow,  1824),  p.  7. 

54  Merritt  Caldwell,  A  Practical  Manual  of  Elocution  (Philadelphia,  1845), 
Preface,  v;  C.  P.  Bronson,  Elocution;  or  Mental  and  Vocal  Philosophy  (Louisville, 
1845),  engravings  reprinted  without  credit;  Albert  M.  Bacon,  A  Manual  of  Gesture 
(New  York,  1872),  Preface;  R.  I.  Fulton  and  T.  C.  Trueblood,  Practical  Elements 
of  Elocution  (Boston,  1893),  Preface  and  engravings;  Joseph  A.  Mosher,  The  Es- 
sentials of  Effective  Gesture  (New  York,  1916),  Preface. 

55.  Frederick  W.  Haberman,  "The  Bell  Family—A  Dynasty  in  Speech/'  Southern 
Speech  Journal,  XV  (December,  1949),  112-117. 

56.  Two  publications  which  contain  his  philosophy  in  briefest  form  are  A  New 
Elucidation  of  the  Principles  of  Speech  and  Elocution  (Edinburgh,  1849),  168  edi- 
tions by  1892;  and  Essays  and  Postscripts  on  Elocution  (New  York,  1886). 

57.  See  Estelle  L.  McElroy,  "Alexander  Melville  BeH— Elocutionist  and  Phone- 
tician/' unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  Columbia  University,  1951. 

58.  See  Otto  Jesperson,  The  Articulation  of  Speech  Sounds  ( Marburg  in  Hessen, 
1889),  p.  3;  Maurice  Grammont,  Traite  de  Phonetique  (Paris,  1933),  p.  13;  Claude 
E.  Kantner  and  Robert  West,  Phonetics  (New  York,  1941),  p.  287. 

59.  (London). 

60.  (London). 

61.  "Directions  Concerning  Pronunciation  and  Gesture"  (London,  1793).  See 
The  Works  of  the  Reverend  John  Wesley,  A.M.  ( London,  1840-1842 ) ,  4th  ed.,  XIII, 
488  ff. 

62.  (Oxford). 

63.  (London). 

64.  (London). 

65.  The  notes  made  by  the  clergyman  tutored  by  Garrick  were  systematized  by 
a  friend,  J.  W.  Anderson,  and  published  under  the  title  The  Common  Prayer,  as 
read  by  the  late  Mr.  Garrick  (London,  1797). 

66.  Cull,  Mode  of  Reading,  p.  67. 

67.  (London).  At  least  eight  editions  by  1851. 1  have  used  an  edition  of  1798. 

68.  (Edinburgh).  12th  English  ed.  in  1799;  at  least  11  American  editions  by 
1820. 1  have  used  an  edition  of  1808  published  at  Worchester. 

69.  (London).  At  least  three  editions  by  180L  I  have  used  an  edition  of  1800 
published  at  Dublin. 

70.  I  have  used  the  9th  ed.,  n.d.  References  in  the  Catalogue  of  the  British 
Museum  and  in  the  English  Catalogue  of  Books,  which  list  as  the  main  title,  what 
appears  as  the  subtitle  in  the  9th  ed.,  indicate  that  the  1st  ed.  is  London,  1834. 

71.  (Glasgow).  I  have  used  the  Glasgow,  1853  edition.  The  Academic  Speaker 
is  very  similar  to  his  The  Oratorical  Class-Book  (Glasgow,  1824),  15th  ed.  in  1854. 

72.  Hartley,  Academic  Speaker,  p.  68. 


73.  Thomas  Ewing,  Principles  of  Elocution  (Edinburgh,  1815);  36th  ed.  m 
1861,  The  quotation  is  from  the  12th  ed.  (Edinburgh,  1828),  Preface. 

74.  (London). 

75.  John  Thelwall,  Illustrations  of  English  Rhythms  (London,  1812), 

76.  (London).  Smart  also  published  a  companion  exercise  book,  The  Practice 
of  Elocution  (London,  1820);  4th  ed.,  1842. 


Rhetoric,  Elocution,  and  Speech 

U      American  Contributions  to  Rhetorical 
Theory  and  Homiletics 


At  the  opening  of  the  nineteenth  century,  rhetorical  education  in 
America  was  based  largely  on  the  classical  writings  on  the  subject- 
principally  the  works  of  Aristotle,  Cicero,  and  Quintilian-and,  more 
especially,  on  the  works  of  certain  English  rhetoricians,  notably  Blair 
and  Campbell.  Their  works,  together  with  Whately  s  Elements  of 
Rhetoric.,  published  in  1828,  were  the  most  widely  used  textbooks  in 
American  colleges  in  the  first  half  of  the  century,  and  continued  to  be 
an  important  influence  throughout  the  century. 

As  early  as  1800,  however,  an  American  rhetoric  sufficiently  complete 
to  ke_c?#sic*ered  a  contribution  to  rhetorical  theory  made  Its  appear- 
aafi^athis  was  the  edition  of  the  collected  lectures  on  rhetoric  by  Presi- 
dent John  \Vitherspoon  of  Princeton.  Lecturing  at  Princeton,  Wither- 
spoon  emphasized  two  general  points  of  view  which  were  repeated  and 
developed  by  Chauncey  Goodrich  lecturing  a  few  years  later  at  Yale. 
These  were,  first,  that  wMejsome  natural  talent  or  capacity  "is  evi- 
dently necessary  to  the  instruction  or  stucly  of  this  art,"  the  orator  is  es- 
sentially a  product  of  his  practice  and  training  rather  than  his  heredity; 
and,  second,  that  the  wise.stp.dy  and  translation  of  great  models  is  an 
invaluable  aid  in  developing  $ME  in  the  art  of  rhetoric.1 

Witherspoon's  theory  of  rhetoric  is  essentially  classical,  although  he 
does  not  accord  to  inventio  the  prominence  nor  importance  given  this 
canon  by  the  writers  of  antiquity.  The  orator,  he  feels,  is  more  likely 
to  have  difficulty  "in  selecting  what  is  proper,  than  in  inventing  some- 
thing that  seems  to  be  tolerable/' 2  In  one  other  way  Witherspoon  differs 
somewhat  from  the  classical  tradition.  He  defined  more  clearly  the 
objects  of  speech-making:  information,  demonstration,  persuasion,  or 



entertainment,  While  these  are  similar  to  Campbell's  objects  of  oratory, 
they  represent  a  sharper  distinction  and  are  developed  quite  differently. 

In  1806,  Joh^Quincy  Adams  was  inducted  as  first  Boylston  Professor 
of  Rhetoric  and  Oratory  at  Harvard  University,  and  in  1810  his  lectures 
were  published.  In  terms  of  completeness  and  fidelity  to  classical  doc- 
trines, Adams*  theory  of  rhetoric  surpasses  Witherspoon's.  As  a  part  of 
the  American  development  of  rhetorical  theory  in  the  nineteenth  cen- 
tury it  is  significant  to  note  that  Adams'  lectures  rely  very  little  on  the 
works  of  the  great  English  rhetoricians  of  the  period,  such  as  Campbell 
and  Blair,  and  almost  not  at  all  on  the  English  elocutionists  such  as 
Sheridan,  Steele,  and  Walker.  It  is  noteworthy  also  that  Adams  placed 
emphasis  on  deliberative  and  judicial  oratory  because  of  their  special 
importance  in  a  free  country.3 

Adams  regarded  speaking  as  the  "necessary  adjunct  and  vehicle  of 
reason,"  and  the  means  for  the  conveyance  of  thought  in  "rational  inter- 
course with  his  fellow  creatures  and  of  humble  communion  with  his 
God." 4  He  used  Aristotle's  division  of  oratory  into  demonstrative,  de- 
liberative, and  judicial,  and  he  added  pulpit  oratory. 

In  accordance  with  the  instructions  laid  down  by  the  Harvard  Over- 
seers in  assigning  the  Boylston  Professorship,  Adams  dealt  in  his  lec- 
tures with  invention,  disposition,  style,  and  pronunciation  (delivery). 
His  treatment  of  these  canons  was  largely  a  restatement  of  the  doctrines 
of  Aristotle,  Cicero,  and  Quintilian.  The  lectures  do  not  treat  delivery 
to  any  great  extent.  He  referred  without  enthusiasm  to  the  works  of 
Sheridan  and  Walker  in  the  field  of  elocution,  and  himself  offered  no 
program  for  the  training  of  voice  and  action.  He  does,  however,  give 
rather  explicit  instructions  as  to  the  method  of  speech  preparation.5 

In  conclusion,  while  Adams'  lectures  are  for  the  most  part  a  restate- 
ment of  classical  doctrines,  they  indicate  a  tendency  dn  the  part  of  some 
American  rhetoricians  to  break  away  from  the  complete  reliance  on  the 
English  rhetorics.  Unfortunately,  however,  they  failed  to  re-establish 
the  classical  trend  as  a  major  movement—as  indicated  by  the  tremen- 
dous popularity  of  the  elocutionary  movement  which  was  soon  to 

At  about  the  same  time  that  Adams'  lectures  were  published,  §amuel 
Knox.,  the  principal  of  Baltimore  College,  published  A  Compendious 
System  of  Rhetoric.  This  was  for  the  most  part  an  abstract  of  the  work 
of  Blair,  with  material  on  tropes  arid  figures  3ra.wn  frpjqpi  Jjol^Stirliiig's 
System  of  Rhetoric  (1770).  A  little  book,  arranged  in  catechetical  form, 
it  touches  upon  all  the  divisions  of  rhetoric;  but  except  for  style  the 
treatment  is  superficial.  It  is  significant  only  in  that  it  indicates  the  pre- 
occupation with  style  and  composition  characteristic  of  many  of  the 
early  nineteenth-century  writers  and  teachers.  Although  the  works  of 


Blair  and  Campbell,  with  their  essentially  classical  interpretations,  were 
dominant  in  American  colleges  at  this  time,  Knox  defined  rhetoric  as 
"the  art  of  speaking  and  writing,  in  every  species  of  style  and  composi- 
tion, agreeably  to  the  most  approved  taste,  and  literary  improvement 
in  language."  6  It  was  probably  this  emphasis  on  style  and  composition, 
seen  also  in  the  works  of  such  early  nineteenth  century  writers  as  New- 
man and  Channing,  that  paved  the  way  for  the  elocution  movement  of 
the  middle  part  of  the  century  which  virtually  divorced  delivery  from 
the  other  aspects  of  rhetoric. 

Samuel  JP.h  Newman's  A  Practical  System  of  Rhetoric,  published  in 
1827,  was  the  first  American  rhetoric  to  be  used  widely  in  the  schools. 
It  replaced  Jamieson's  Grammar  of  Rhetoric  and  Polite  Literature  in 
such  American  colleges  as  Bowdoin,  Amherst,  and  Wesleyan.  Newman 
is  almost  entirely  concerned  with  written  composition;  persuasion  as 
such  forms  no  part  of  his  rhetorical  system.  The  instructions  of  rhetoric, 
he  says,  are  twofold:  "those  which  point  out  the  excellencies  of  style, 
and  those  which  give  cautions  against  its  most  frequent  faults."  7 

While  this  book  offers  little  that  is  original,  it  is  noteworthy  in  that 
it  is  probably  the  first  American  rhetoric  intended  strictly  as  a  text- 
book, and  as  such  is  well  written  and  supplied  with  ample  illustrative 
material.  It  should  be  noted,  also,  as  a  further  step  by  Americans  to- 
ward developing  an  art  of  belles  lettres  distinct  from  elocution. 

During  the  first  half  of  the  nineteenth  century,  the  chairs  of  profes- 
sor of  rhetoric  at  three  of  America's  leading  colleges  were  held  by  men 
who,  while  they  did  not  publish  their  lectures  in  textbook  form,  were 
presenting  to  their  students  rhetorical  theories  of  remarkable  balance 
and  scope.  They  were  Porter  at  Andover  Academy,  Goodrich  at  Yale, 
and  Channing  at  Harvard.  While  it  is  difficult  to  assess  the  influence  of 
these  men  in  determining  the  development  of  rhetorical  theory  in 
America,  it  is  certain  that  in  their  institutions,  at  least,  they  were  highly 
respected.  They  influenced  many  of  the  men  who  became  leaders  in 
American  life  during  the  nineteenth  century.  Porter  was  also  an  impor- 
tant figure  in  the  development  of  elocution  and  homiletics. 

Ebenezer  Porter  Lield  the  Baitlett  Professorship  of  Sacred  Rhetoric  at 
Andgver  Academy  from  1813  to  1831.  His  lectures  on  homiletics  and 
preaching  were  published  in  1834,  and  his  lectures  on  eloquence  and 
style  were  collected  by  Reverend  Matthews  and  published  in  1836. 8 
Like  Adams  at  Harvard,  Porter  was  required  by  the  rules  of  his  office 
to  discuss  certain  specified  subjects,  including  the  importance  of  ora- 
tory, and  the  principles  of  invention,  disposition,  style,  and  delivery. 
Like  Adams,  also,  PoxtQrj  treatment  of  the^cg^Qns  pf  rhetoric  is-©ssen- 
tially  classical,  leaning  heavily  on  Aristotle,  Cicero,  and  Quintilian; 
and  o^CSm^'eS  and  Blair  among  the  moderns.  Except  for  style  and 


delivery,  the  divisions  of  rhetoric  are  treated  briefly.  Style  is  treated 
rather  fully,  with  the  material  coming  almost  entirely  from  Quintilian, 
Longinus,  Campbell,  and  Blair.  Delivery  is  discussed  in  seven  of  the 
lectures,  and  reveals  Porter  as  an  adherent  of  the  Walker  school. 

From  1817  to  1839,  Chauncey  Allen  Goodrich  was  Professor  of 
Rhetoric  at  Yale  University.  His  lectures,  not  published  in  the  nine- 
teenth century,  probably  had  little  direct  influence  on  the  development 
of  rhetorical  theory  and  training  outside  of  Connecticut.  His  book 
Select  British  Eloquence,  however,  was  read  widely  both  in  this  coun- 
try and  in  England;  and  in  the  course  of  his  careful  rhetorical  criticism 
of  the  twenty  orators,  ranging  from  Sir  John  Eliot  to  Lord  Brougham, 
he  included  most  of  the  precepts  covered  in  his  lectures  at  Yale.  Al- 
though we  are  not  directly  concerned  here  with  criticism  as  such,  it  is 
noteworthy  that  Goodrich  was  the  first  rhetorical  critic  to  recognize 
clearly  the  necessity  for  developing  an  adequate  biographical-historical 
setting  for  the  evaluation  of  a  speech  or  a  speaker.  His  clear  delineation 
of  the  social  forces  which  produce  and  are  in  turn  molded  by  great 
speakers  set  a  pattern  for  rhetorical  criticism  which  is  common  today. 

Goodrich's  lectures  are  essentially  classical  in  conception  and  scope, 
although  he  rarely  refers  to  the  classical  rhetoricians.  His  lectures  fall 
easily  into  the  traditional  divisions. 

Public  speaking,  Goodrich  said,  is  of  utmost  importance  to  the  indi- 
vidual and  to  society.  In  no  country,  he  pointed  out,  "is  the  power  of 
impressing  thought  on  others  through  the  medium  of  language  so  con- 
trolling in  its  influence  as  here."  9  That  Goodrich  did  not  approve  of 
the  separation  of  delivery  from  the  other  parts  of  rhetoric  by  the  elocu- 
tionists of  his  day  is  seen  in  the  following  paragraph  from  one  of  his 
introductory  lectures: 

The  end  of  pubMc  speaking  is  not  to  be  eloquent.  I  say  this  because  an 
error  on  this  subject  has  had  great  influence  in  corrupting  eloquence—pecul- 
iarly in  this  country,  because  men  are  here  peculiarly  dependent  on  public 
speaking.  It  has  produced  a  tendency  to  speak  for  the  sake  for  delivery,  of 
attracting  the  attention  of  constituents,  of  establishing  a  reputation  for  elo- 
quence. But  this  attitude  always  defeats  its  object,  produces  unnatural  lan- 
guage, strained  sentiments,  etc.10 

Although  his  lectures  contain  no  subdivision  entitled  "invention," 
Goodrich  does,  in  various  places,  deal  with  choice  of  subject,  sources 
of  ideas  and  arguments,  techniques  of  collecting  evidence,  tests  of 
arguments  and  evidence,  methods  of  adapting  to  audience  interests, 
and  techniques  of  making  the  speaker  appear  "wise"  and  "good." xl 

More  than  any  American  rhetorician  of  the  nineteenth  century,  with 
the  possible  exception  of  Charming  at  Harvard,  Goodrich  was  a  student 
of  philosophy,  and  to  his  total  concept  of  invention  may  be  added  his 


significant  discussion  of  the  mental  faculties  which  produce  the  great 
speaker.  The  great  end  of  education,  he  says,  is  "to  subject  our  faculties 
both  intellectual  and  physical  to  a  rigid  course  of  discipline  . . .  making 
every  power  the  ready  and  active  instrument  of  the  will. . . ."  12  Certain 
mental  phenomena  which  had  by  various  writers  been  designated 
"original"  mental  faculties  are  defined  and  analyzed.  These  include: 
abstraction,  comprehension,  generalization,  judgment,  reason,  imagina- 
tion, taste,  and  belief.  Although  his  descriptions  of  these  powers  follow 
closely  the  work  of  the  Scottish  philosophers,  Reid  and  Stewart,  he 
differs  from  them  in  concluding  that  most  of  them  are  really  laws  of 
mental  action,  rather  than  original  mental  faculties.13 

Goodrich's  treatment  of  language  and  style  reveals  many  of  the 
ideas  of  Blair  and  Campbell,  with  some  interesting  additions  of  his 
own.  Good  style,  for  Goodrich,  consists  of  any  easy  and  perspicuous  use 
of  language,  with  energy  of  thought  and  richness  of  imagination.14  His 
interest  in  lexicography  led  him  to  a  careful  study  of  etymology  and  of 
pronunciation  standards.15 

The  "moral  and  intellectual  principles  of  our  nature"  Goodrich  con- 
siders most  important  for  the  student  orator,  but  the  cultivation  of  style 
and  elocution  are  scarcely  less  important.16  His  treatment  of  delivery 
was  essentially  classical,  with  the  addition  of  some  attention  to  the 
separate  discipline  of  elocution  popular  at  the  time.  He  would  definitely 
be  in  the  "think-the-thought"  or  "natural"  tradition  in  delivery  as  repre- 
sented in  his  day  by  the  teachings  of  Sheridan.17 

Goodrich's  contemporary  at  Harvard  University  was  Ijldward  T. 
Channing^ J3oylston  Professor  of  Rhetoric  from  1819  to  1852.  Channing 
did  not  publish  his  lectures  until  after  his  retirement,  and  he  wrote  no 
systematic  treatise  on  the  theory  of  rhetoric.  His  influence  on  many  of 
the  outstanding  speakers  and  writers  of  the  nineteenth  century  was 
undoubtedly  of  considerable  importance,  however,  and  his  theory  of 
rhetoric  is  well  worth  examining. 

Channing  is  especially  interesting  to  the  student  of  the  history  of 
rhetorical  theory  for  his  rather  unusual  concept  of  the  nature  and  mean- 
ing of  rhetoric.  At  a  time  when  there  was  a  definite  trend  toward  the 
separation  of  style  and  invention  from  delivery,  on  the  one  hand,  and 
belles  lettres  on  the  other,  the  Harvard  teacher's  concept  of  rhetoric 
included  aspects  of  all  three.  RhgJonCpJie  believed,  was  the  fundamen- 
tal art  of  communication,  and  its  principles  applied  BdtK  to  speech  and 
to  writing.  As  he  stated  if:  "  """"""* 

I  am  inclined  to  consider  rhetoric  when  reduced  to  a  system  in  books,  as  a 
body  of  rules  derived  from  experience  and  observation,  extending  to  all  com- 
munication by  language  and  designed  to  make  it  efficient.  It  does  not  ask 
whether  a  man  is  to  be  a  speaker  or  writer,— a  poet,  philosopher,  or  debator; 


but  simply,— is  it  his  wish  to  be  put  in  the  right  way  of  communicating  his 
mind  with  power  to  others,  by  words  spoken  or  written.18 

Belles  lettres,  in  the  sense  of  appreciation  of  the  forms  of  writing,  and 
analysis  of  their  beauty,  was  specifically  omitted  from  Channing's  con- 
cept. Rhetoric,  he  said,  "leaves  this  field  of  criticism  to  other  laborers, 
and  limits  its  inspection  of  general  literature  to  the  purpose  of  ascer- 
taining and  illustrating  the  essentials  of  accurate  and  forcible  expres- 
sion in  all  good  composition."  19 

In  spite  of  this  rather  unusual  definition  of  the  scope  of  rhetoric, 
however,  Channing  lectured  on  all  the  classical  canons  of  rhetoric.  He 
outlined  the  duties  of  rhetoric  as  being  the  analysis  and  explanation  of 
the  style  or  method  of  persuasive  address,  instruction  in  finding  and 
arranging  arguments,  instruction  in  speaking,  and  instruction  in  the 
principles  of  composition  or  good  style.20 

An  interesting  point  of  difference  between  Channing  and  Goodrich 
was  the  former's  distrust  of  the  use  of  models  by  the  student  orator. 
"Minds  of  common  cast  may  profit  by  reading  and  obeying,  but  genius 
suffers." 21  Goodrich,  on  the  other  hand,  was  a  strong  advocate  of  the 
use  of  models— particularly  the  classical  orators— in  the  training  of 
speakers.  Yet  Goodrich,  like  Channing,  was  interested  in  faculty  psy- 
chology, and  in  particular  the  work  of  Thomas  Reid.  Like  his  Yale 
contemporary,  Channing  believed  that  the  rhetorician  was  concerned 
with  the  development  of  the  various  faculties  of  the  mind.  His  lectures 
do  not  include  a  systematic  survey  of  the  faculties;  he  asserted  only 
that  one  purpose  of  rhetoric  was  to  strengthen  man's  natural  powers.22 

Channing  recognized  more  clearly  than  any  nineteenth-century  rheto- 
rician that  the  orator  should  not  be  a  leader  of  the  multitude,  but  rather 
should  be  considered  "one  of  the  multitude,  deliberating  with  them 
upon  common  interests,  which  are  well  understood  and  valued  by 
all."  23  This  view  of  the  speaker,  held  the  Harvard  professor,  does  not 
reduce  the  "true  dignity  and  resources  of  the  art,"  24 


In  1822,  E.  G.  Welles  published  a  small  book  of  fifty-six  pages  entitled 
The  Orators  Guide;  or  rules  for  speaking  and  composing;  fyom  the  best 
authorities.  This  bobk,  whfle  it  offers  nothing  new,  is  interesting  as  an 
indication  of  the  growing  attentiqn4  in  America  to  voice  aad, gesture  as 
separate  problems.,  Welles  was  primarily  interested  in  gesture  and 
action,  which  he  called  pronunciation  after  the  terminology  of  the 
classical  rhetoricians.  He  quotes  Cicero,  Demosthenes,  and  Quintilian, 
out  of  context,  to  show  that  "Pronunciation,  which  was  also  called 
action,  was  considered  by  the  most  competent  judges  among  the 


ancients,  as  the  primary  part  o£  an  Orator's  province— as  almost  the  only 
source  from  which  he  can  hope  to  succeed,  in  the  art  of  persuasion."  25 
The  almost  absurd  artificiality  of  Welles'  concept  of  gesture  may  be 
indicated  in  his  own  words: 

The  several  motions  of  the  body  ought  to  be  accommodated  to  the  various 
tones  and  inflections  of  the  voice.  When  the  voice  is  even,  and  moderate,  little 
gesture  is  required;  and  nothing  can  be  more  improper,  than  violent  motion, 
in  discoursing  upon  ordinary  and  familiar  subjects.  The  motion  of  the  body 
should  rise,  therefore,  in  proportion  to  the  vehemence  and  energy  of  the 
sentiment,  and  appear  to  be  the  natural  and  genuine  effect  of  it.26 

Possibly  the  first  book  by  an  American  bearing  the  title  of  rhetoric 
buf  devoted  exclusively  to  writing  rather  than  speaking  was  the  Ele- 
ments of  Rhetoric  and  Literary  Criticism.,  compiled  and  arranged  by 
James  K.  Boyd,  Principal  of  Jefferson  County  Institute.  This  book  paid 
not  even  lip  service  to  the  tradition  of  rhetoric  in  the  classical  sense. 
That  it  represented  a  fairly  common  conception  of  the  extent  and  scope 
of  rhetorical  training  at  the  time  is  indicated  by  the  fact  that,  first  pub- 
lished in  1844,  it  had  gone  through  six  editions  by  1848. 

Boyd  expressed  his  belief  that  "the  labors  of  teachers  in  all  our  schools 
are  directed  too  exclusively  to  the  securing  of  correct  habits  in  speaking 
and  reading  the  language;  and  that  altogether  too  limited  an  amount  of 
time  and  share  of  attention  are  employed  in  teaching  the  art  of  cor- 
rectly writing  the  language."  27  It  is  interesting  to  note  Boyd's  state- 
ment that  "the  habit  of  writing  much  with  accuracy  would  greatly  aid 
us,  also,  in  speaking  the  language  with  accuracy  and  elegance/'  28 

Part  III  of  the  book,  devoted  to  a  discussion  of  the  different  kinds  of 
composition,  discusses  very  briefly  the  traditional  six  parts  of  an  ora- 
tion. The  remainder  of  the  book  is  devoted  to  grammar,  style,  composi- 
tion, the  history  of  the  English  language,  and  a  brief  review  of  modern 
British  and  American  literature. 

Also  in  1844  was  published  a  very  interesting  translation  from  the 
German  of  Dr.  Francis  Theremin's  Eloquence  A  Virtue;  or,  Outlines  of 
a  Systematic  Rhetoric.  William  G.  T.  Shedd,  the  translator,  was  profes- 
sor of  English  literature  at  the  University  of  Vermont.  His  free  transla- 
tion of  Theremin's  work,  his  excellent  preface,  and  his  advocacy  may 
have  influenced  American  views  of  rhetoric. 

In  the  preface  Shedd  restated  the  philosophical  justification  for  rheto- 
ric and  presented  the  thesis  that  the  end  of  rhetoric  must  be  moral.  The 
state  of  rhetoric  at  the  time,  he  felt,  called  for  an  "infusion"  of  the  moral 
element  found  in  Theremin's  treatise: 

Rhetoric,  in  its  best  estate,  is  but  the  science  of  Form,  or,  to  use  Milton's 

phrase,  an  'organic'— i.e.  instrumental—Art Dissevered  from  Logic,  or  the 

necessary  laws  of  Thought,  it  has  become  dissevered  from  the  seat  of  life, 


and  has  degenerated  into  a  mere  collection  of  rules  respecting  the  structure 
of  sentences  and  the  garnish  of  expression.29 

Theremin  insisted  that,  while  the  means  employed  by  eloquence  may 
be  aesthetic  and  the  form  in  which  it  appears  artistic,  the  great  end 
constantly  aimed  at  must  be  moral,  and  only  moral.  Shedd  believed  that 
here  was  a  rhetoric  "that  is  not  only  formative  and  plastic,  but  organific, 
and  has  thus  superinduced  life  upon  the  lifeless."  30 

Theremin's  treatment  of  invention  is  particularly  interesting.  The 
purpose  of  eloquence,  he  held,  was  to  "produce  a  change  in  the  senti- 
ments and  conduct  of  other  men."  This  being  the  case,  "the  inquiry  after 
its  fundamental  principles,  therefore,  becomes  changed  quite  naturally 
into  this:  what  are  the  laws  according  to  which  a  free  being  may  exert 
influence  upon  other  free  beings?  And  the  answer  to  this  question  can 
be  derived  only  from  ethics."  31 

Against  this  background,  Theremin  formulated  the  highest  law  of 
elocjuence;  "Ttte  particular  idea  wliich  the  orator  wishes  to  realize  is 
carried  back  to  the  necessary  ideas  of  the  hearer.'*  These  necessary 
'Ideas"  he  defined  broadly  as  being  Duty,  Virtue,  and  Happiness.32  The 
orator,  then,  to  connect  the  premises  of  his  speech  with  these  innate 
moral  urges  must  conform  to  three  subordinate  methods  or  categories: 
Truth,  showing  that  his  idea  is  in  fact  Duty,  Virtue,  or  Happiness;  Pos- 
sibility, showing  that  his  idea  is  practicable;  and  Actuality,  showing 
that  his  idea  actually  exists  or  the  event  has  happened. 

Theremin's  system  of  invention  and  arrangement,  though  based  on 
this  ethical  analysis,  follows  the  general  line  of  classical  theory,  and 
includes  a  discussion  of  the  speaker's  ethos,  and  the  means  of  exciting 
the  affections. 

In  addition  to  editing  Theremin,  Shedd  did  some  lecturing  and  writ- 
ing of  his  own  on  rhetoric.  His  most  extensive  statement  is  found  in  an 
inaugural  address  at  Auburn  Theological  Seminary  entitled  "The  Char- 
acteristics, and  Importance  of  a  Natural  Rhetoric."  Because  its  appro- 
priate subject  matter  is  the  form  of  a  discourse,  rhetoric  is  especially 
liable  to  formalism  and  artificiality.33  He  appeals,  therefore,  for  a 
rhetoric  "that  educates  like  nature.  ...  a  Rhetoric  that  organizes  and 
vitalizes  the  material  that  is  made  over  to  it  for  purposes  of  form.  .  .  ."  34 

HenogLjfcLJBlSJ^  a  contemporary  of  Shedd,  was  another  American 
rhetojician  who  made  '"sosoe  original*  €Oi^  the 

iro^^lttte  In  the  preface  of  his  first  work,  Elements  of  the  Art 

of  Rhetoric,  published  in  1850,  Day  stated  what  he  believed  to  be  his 

First,  Invention  is  treated  as  a  distinct  and  primary  department  of  the  art 
of  Rhetoric.  From  most  English  treatises  this  department  has  been  generally 


excluded:  and  rhetoric  has  been  generally  regarded  as  confined  almost  ex- 
clusively to  style.35 

Day  objected  to  Whately's  concept  of  rhetoric  because  he  felt  the  Eng- 
lish writer  confined  himself  to  "mere  argumentative  composition,  or  the 
art  of  producing  Belief."  This  view,  he  felt,  excluded  aU  "Explanatory 
Discourse"  as  well  as  all  "Persuasion/'  His  own  system  included  expla- 
nation, conviction,  excitation,  and  persuasion  as  the  "possible  immediate 
objects  of  all  discourse/' 
Rhetoric,  according  to  Day,  is  "the  art  of  discourse." 

The  proper  province  of  Rhetoric,  as  also  its  specific  relations  to  other  arts 
and  sciences,  are  determined  at  once  by  the  faculty  which  it  immediately  and 
exclusively  respects,—the  faculty  of  discourse,  or  the  capacity  in  man  of  com- 
municating his  mental  states  to  other  minds  by  means  of  language.36 

Although  he  discussed  disposition  briefly,  Day  ruled  out  delivery  from 
his  treatment  of  rhetoric  and  confined  himself  almost  entirely  to  inven- 
tion and  style.  The  success  of  the  elocutionists  in  establishing  a  separate 
discipline  in  this  country  by  the  middle  of  the  century  is  evidenced  by 
Day's  statement  about  delivery: 

The  art  of  rhetoric  cannot  in  strictness  be  regarded  as  having  accomplished 
its  end  until  the  mental  states  to  be  communicated  are  actually  conveyed  to 
the  mind  addressed.  It,  therefore,  may  properly  comprehend  delivery. 

The  mode  of  communication,  however,  is  not  essential.  The  thought  may 
be  conveyed  by  the  pen  or  by  the  voice.  Elocution,  or  the  vocal  expression  of 
thought,  is  not  accordingly  a  necessary  part  of  rhetoric.37 

Rhetorical  invention  as  such  was  defined  by  Day  as  "the  art  of  sup- 
plying the  requisite  thought  in  kind  and  form  for  discourse."  3S  It  em- 
braced, therefore,  disposition,  as  well  as  invention  proper.  The  parts  of 
invention  were  determined  by  his  analysis  of  the  ends  or  objects  of 
discourse,  and  were  stated  concisely: 

The  process  by  which  a  new  conception  is  produced,  is  by  Explanation; 
that  by  which  a  new  judgment  is  produced  is  by  Confirmation.  A  change  in 
the  sensibilities  is  affected  by  the  process  of  Excitation;  and  in  the  will,  by 
that  of  Persuasion.39 

More  than  most  of  his  contemporaries,  Day  was  solidly  in  the  classical 
tradition  of  purposive  rhetoric.  His  unusual  emphasis  on  the  importance 
of  directing  discourse  to  a  specific  end,  and  selecting  and  arranging 
materials  most  effectively  to  accomplish  that  end  marks  him  as  one  of 
the  few  original  thinkers  of  his  century. 

Style,  the  other  "great  department"  of  rhetoric,  Day  thought  to  have 
certain  absolute  qualities,  such  as  oral  properties,  suggestive  proper- 
ties, grammatical  properties,  subjective  properties  (which  included  sig- 


nificance  and  naturalness),  and  objective  properties  (which  included 
clearness,  energy,  and  elegance.)40  Although  his  discussion  of  these 
properties  was  not  original,  he  did  a  much  better  job  than  most  rhetori- 
cians of  the  century  of  relating  them  to  the  various  kinds  of  discourse. 

The^next  work  on  rhetoric  to  appear  in  America  was  Matthew  Boyd 
Hope's  Princeton  Textbook  in  Rhetoric,  published  in  1859.  The  Prince- 
ton professor  of  rhetoric  wrote  his  textbook  in  part  to  replace  Whately. 
Whately's  Rhetoric,  Hope  felt,  was  inadequate  for  his  students  "in  the 
matter  of  their  Belles  Lettres  culture"  and  Whately's  work  on  elocu- 
tion he  found  "not  only  inferior  in  its  method  and  handling,  but  posi- 
tively, and  mischievously  erroneous,  in  its  theoretical  principles,  and 
consequently  in  its  practical  precepts."  41 

The  art  of  rhetoric,  the  Princeton  professor  believed,  differed  from 
other  arts  in  that  "it  uses  articulate  language  as  its  proper  instrument"; 
and  "it  has  for  its  special  object:  1,  to  convince,  and  2,  to  persuade."  The 
difference  between  conviction  and  persuasion  was  that  "the  former, 
(conviction)  is  an  effect  upon  the  under$tanding,—the  intellectual  or 
logical  faculties,—  the  latter,  (persuasion)  is  an  effect  upon  the  will, 
producing  a  change  either  of  character,  or  conduct. . . ."  42 

Hope's  treatment  of  conviction  does  not  differ  significantly  from 
Whately's.  Persuasion,  also,  is  treated  in  much  the  same  way  as  the 
English  rhetorician's,  except  that  some  influence  of  Shedd's  translation 
of  Theremin  is  apparent  in  Hope's  placing  of  persuasion  in  the  domain 
of  ethics  and  insisting  upon  a  high  ethical  standard  of  persuasion. 

Like  Day,  Channing,  Goodrich,  and  others  of  his  contemporaries, 
Hope  was  strongly  influenced  by  faculty  psychology,  and  his  analysis 
of  the  psychological  conditions  in  persuasion,  while  not  original,  was 
more  specific  than  most.  Persuasion,  he  said,  rests  upon  "the  presence 
of  some  motive  principle,  in  the  active  constitution  of  the  human  spirit, 
—and  reaches  the  will,  by  kindling  some  desire,  for  the  attainment  of  its 
object,— and  2,  the  conviction  of  the  understanding,  that  the  means 
proposed  in  persuasion,  promise  to  attain  the  end." 4B  These  two  condi- 
tions, Hope  said,  constituted  a  motive;  and  since  man  is  a  moral  being, 
free  and  self -moved,  it  is  by  motives,  in  the  described  sense,  that  he  is 
governed.  His  classification  of  the  "motive  principles  to  human  action" 
implied  in  moral  freedom  is  fairly  specific,  and  probably  quite  repre- 
sentative of  the  thinking  of  most  of  his  contemporaries. 

The  Princeton  professor  discussed  arrangement  or  disposition  in  con- 
nection with  persuasion  and  conviction;  he  wrote  of  style  and  elocution 
as  less  essential  but  "tributary  to  the  end  sought  in  rhetoric." 44  His 
treatment  of  style  is  brief  and  does  not  add  materially  to  the  work  of 
Blair  and  Whately.  As  essential  properties  of  effective  style  he  dis- 
cussed clearness,  force,  and  beauty. 


The  treatment  of  elocution  is  also  fairly  brief  and  drawn  from  the 
work  of  Rush,  whom  Hope  greatly  admired.  Austin's  Chironomia  is 
credited  as  the  primary  source  of  his  brief  discussion  of  action,  although 
the  influence  of  Whately  is  quite  apparent  in  his  summary  statement 
about  gestures:  "Study  the  sentiment,  and  enter  into  the  emotion,  of 
what  you  wish  to  say;  then  be  natural,  earnest,  simple,  and  as  graceful 
as  possible."  45 

Following  the  publication  of  Hope's  work,  there  were  no  more  Amer- 
ican rhetorics  until  1867,  when  A  Manual  of  the  Art  of  Prose  Composi- 
tion by  John  Mitchell  Bonnell  was  published,  This  was  primarily  a  book 
orreomposition  dealing  with  style  and  with  invention.  There  are  also 
chapters  on  argument  and  one  on  the  oration.  Mostly  a  distillation  of 
Blair,  it  offers  little  that  is  original,  and  is  interesting  chiefly  as  an  ex- 
ample of  the  extent  to  which  the  delivery  and  the  composition  of 
speeches  had  become  separate  disciplines  in  America. 

The  following  year,  1868,  an  interesting  little  book  by  William  Pitten- 
ger  gjtiJ^led^jOmtOT.U  $flcT®A  $nd  Secular:  or,  the  Extemporaneous 
Speaker  was  published.  This  was  not  so  much  an  attempt  to  formulate 
a  sysfSaatic  theory  as  it  was  to  set  forth  the  outlines  of  a  practical 
course  pjjraining  for  an  orator.  The  prerequisites  for  being  a  success- 
ful orator,  Pittenger  said,  were  intellectual  competency,  strength  of 
body,  command  of  language,  courage,  firmness,  and  self-reliance.  Some 
very  general,  and  probably  not  very  practical,  rules  are  offered  for 
acquiring  these  characteristics.  Part  III,  "Secular  Oratory,"  simply 
describes  very  briefly  the  different  types  of  address:  instructive,  deliber- 
ative, legal,  controversial,  and  popular. 

Although  he  published  no  work  on  rhetoric,  Ralph  Waldo  Emerson 
should  be  included  in  the  list  of  Americans  who  contributed  to  the 
development  of  rhetorical  theory.  Occasional  comments  on  rhetorical 
theory  are  found  scattered  throughout  his  writing;  and  in  1870  and 
again  in  187?  he  published  essays,  both  entitled  "Eloquence,"  in  which 
he  set  forth  his  views  on  the  subject. 

Emerson  defined  eloquence  as  "the  power  to  translate  a  truth  into 
language  perfectly  intelligible  to  the  person  to  whom  you  speak."  46 
Reminiscent  of  his  general  transcendentalist  philosophy  is  the  interest- 
ing belief  that  every  man,  if  properly  stimulated,  can  rise  above  his 
mundane  weaknesses,  and  become  for  the  moment  an  orator.  This  latent 
or  potential  talent  also,  he  said,  accounts  for  the  fact  that  assemblies  of 
men  are  "susceptible/'  "The  eloquence  of  one  stimulates  all  the  rest, 
some  up  to  the  speaking-point  and  all  others  to  a  degree  that  makes 
them  good  receivers  and  conductors. . . ."  47 

Emerson  also  contributed  some  ideas  on  audience  analysis  which 
reveal  great  insight.  In  every  public  assembly,  he  said,  there  are  many 


audiences,  "each  of  which  rules  in  turn,"  48  All  of  these  audiences,  how- 
ever, "which  successively  appear  to  greet  the  variety  of  style  and 
topic,"  49  are  the  same  persons-the  same  individual  sometimes  taking 
active  part  in  them  all. 

He  stressed  the  importance  of  accurate  knowledge  and  personal 
force.  The  orator,  he  said,  must  first  have  "power  of  statement,— must 
have  the  fact  and  know  how  to  tell  it." 50 

Next  in  importance  he  placed  "method,"  by  which  he  apparently 
meant  what  was  called  dispositio  by  the  classical  rhetoricians:  "The 
orator  possesses  no  information  which  his  hearers  have  not,  yet  he 
teaches  them  to  see  the  thing  with  his  eyes.  By  the  new  placing,  the  cir- 
cumstances acquire  new  solidity  and  worth."  51 

Imagery  also  is  considered  important  both  as  an  aid  to  effectiveness 
and  an  aid  to  memory.  Nothing,  he  said,  "so  works  on  the  human  mind, 
barbarous  or  civil,  as  a  trope."  52 

Such  separate  parts,  however,  do  not  constitute  eloquence.  For 
genuine  eloquence  the  speaker  must  be  "sane,"  by  which  he  meant  that 
the  speaker  must  be  able  to  control  his  powers;  and  also  there  must  be 
"a  reinforcing  of  man  from  events,  so  as  to  give  the  double  force  of 
reason  and  destiny." 53 

A  rhetorical  handbook  of  75  pages  entitled  The  Outlines  of  Rheto- 
ric was  published  in  1877.  Joseph  H.  Gilmore,  the  author,  was  a  pro- 
fessor of  rhetoric  at  the  University  of  Rochester.  It  is  a  closely  packed, 
carefully  prepared  outline  of  rhetorical  theories  oiTS^ention  and  style. 
Written  in  the  form  of  questions  and  answers,  it  quotes  liberally  from 
Aristotle,  Whately,  Campbell,  Theremin,  and  Blair. 

Though  it  probably  adds  nothing  new  to  rhetorical  theory,  Gilm'ore's 
book  is  worthy  of  mention  for  its  rather  novel  style  and  unusual  clarity 
and  conciseness  of  expression.  The  following  quotation  will  serve  to 
show  the  method  and  style  of  the  book: 

1.  Define  Rhetoric  according  to  the  view  of  Aristotle— Whately— Campbell. 
Which  definition  are  you  inclined  to  adopt,  and  why? 

Aristotle  regards  Rhetoric  as  the  Art  of  Persuasion;  Whately,  as  the  Art  of 
Conviction;  Campbell,  as  the  Art  of  Discourse.  Campbell's  definition  is  to  be 
preferred  as  more  comprehensive  than  either  of  the  others;  although  Aristotle 
justly  emphasizes  the  most  vital  object  of  all  Rhetorical  study.54 

In  1879,  George JL  Raymond  published  1^ 

book  is  iatheeloctitlDn  traditfon,*an^eais  primarily,  with  three  aspects 
of  defireryi  '"xtwce eidture?  emphasis  (time,  pitch,  force,  volume),  and 
gesture.  It  is  of  interest  here  because  it  included  a  seventeen-page 
appendix  called  "Hints  for  the  Composition  of  Orations."  It  might  be 
said,  therefore,  to  represent  the  beginning  of  the  reunion  of  delivery 


and  composition  of  speeches  which  took  place  toward  the  end  of  the 
nineteenth  century  and  has  continued  in  the  present  century. 

A  two-volume  work,  The  Art  of  Speech,  by  L.  T.  Townsend  was  pub- 
lished in  1880.  It  was  used,  among  other  places,  at  De  Pauw  University, 
and  was  reported  to  have  had  great  influence  on  the  career  of  Albert 

Volume  I,  "Studies  in  Poetry  and  Prose,"  contains  an  interesting 
account  of  the  origin  and  history  of  speech.  Townsend,  who  was  a  pro- 
fessor of  rhetoric  in  Boston  University,  concluded  that  "Human  speech 
is  both  God-given  and  from  human  invention/' 55  He  struck  a  dis- 
tinctly contemporary  note  by  saying  that  thought  is  essentially  "interior 
speech."  Style,  also  considered  in  Volume  I,  is  mostly  drawn  from  Blair. 

Volume  II,  "Studies  in  Eloquence  and  Logic,"  discusses  definitions  of 
oratory  and  eloquence  by  Aristotle,  Cicero,  Quintilian,  Macaulay,  Bau- 
tain,  and  Emerson.  Townsend  concludes  that  Eloquence  as  an  art  "is 
such  a  representation  of  thought  in  vocal,  written,  or  gesture  language, 
as  is  adapted  to  persuade.  The  aim  in  eloquence  is  to  persuade  the  will 
and  the  moral  faculties,  rather  than  -merely  to  convince  the  judg- 
ment." 5G  Chapters  IV  through  VII  of  the  second  volume  contain  a 
series  of  "Inferences"  drawn  from  an  analysis  of  Demosthenes'  orations. 
In  rather  sketchy  and  poorly  organized  form,  these  chapters  contain  a 
fairly  complete  system  of  rhetoric,  including  invention,  disposition, 
style,  and  delivery. 

In  the  same  year,  1880,  Rhetoric^as  an  Art  of  Persuasion . . .  from  the 
standpoint  of  a  lawyer  was  published.  The  frontispiece  lists  the  author 
as  "An  Old  Lawyer."  His  name  was  Qaniel  F.  Miller,  In  the  preface 
Miller  stated  that  he  had  "studied  many  American  and  English  authors 
on  the  subject  of  rhetoric,  but  found  nothing  in  them  to  compare  in 
usefulness  and  thoroughness  of  instruction  to  Quintilian's  Institutes  of 
Oratory."  His  system  of  rhetoric  is  lately  a  condensation  of  QumtHian 
with  some  influencejrom  Cicero. 

Ttioxigri  it  offers  little  that  could  be  called  original,  this  work  is  note- 
worthy in  at  least  two  respects.  In  the  first  place,  it  is  written  in  a  very 
colloquial  style  and  contains  many  interesting  "asides"  which  occa- 
sionally show  considerable  insight.  As  one  instance  of  this,  in  discussing 
induction  he  says  that  Bacon  is  credited  with  developing  inductive 
reasoning,  and  Aristotle  with  developing  the  syllogism.  Actually,  said 
Miller,  neither  is  true,  induction  being  "the  common  vernacular  of 
human  speech,  and,  besides,  there  are  plenty  of  books  extant  which 
contain  numberless  instances  of  the  use  both  of  the  inductive  and  syl- 
logistic styles  of  argument,  written  ages  before  the  name  of  either 
Bacon  or  Aristotle  adorned  the  pages  of  history."  57 

The  other  notable  feature  of  this  book  is  the  inclusion  of  a  great  many 


examples  and  illustrations  drawn  largely  from  Quintilian,  Lincoln,  J.  F. 
Dillon,  Cicero,  Plato,  Erskine,  Curran,  Henry  Clay,  and  Webster. 

As  might  be  expected,  Miller  does  a  good  job  of  stating  the  principles 
and  methods  of  invention  and  disposition,  but  the  treatment  of  style 
is  poorly  organized,  being  mostly  a  listing  of  numerous  figures  of  speech 
with  illustrations. 


Adams  Sherman  Hill,  Boylston  Professor  of  Rhetoric  at  Harvard, 
publish^his  Principles  of  Rhetoric  in  1878.  It  is  perhaps  of  interest 
chiefly  because  it  indicates  the  extent  to  which  the  Boylston  Professor- 
ship had  come  to  deal  with  the  written  rather  than  the  spoken  word. 
Hill  defined  rhetoric  as  "the  art  of  efficient  communication  by"  lan- 
guage/'58 and  although  he  does  include  the  speaker  as  well  as  the 
writer  in  his  concept,  the  book  is  addressed  to  the  writer,  with  not  even 
a  discussion  of  "oratory"  or  public  speaking  in  any  form. 

Part  I  of  the  book  deals  with  "Composition  in  General/'  and  takes  up 
grammatical  purity  and  choice  of  words.  Part  II  deals  with  "Kinds  of 
Composition/'  and  takes  up  only  three  kinds:  narrative,  descriptive,  and 
argumentative.  None  of  this  material  seems  to  offer  the  student  any- 
thing different  from  that  found  in  Whately,  Bair,  and  numerous  other 
sources  which  were  available  at  the  time. 

The  subject  of  "Persuasion"  is  disposed  of  by  Hill  in  seven  pages  as 
a  subtopic  of  argumentative  composition.  To  influence  the  "will/'  Hill 
said,  it  is  necessary  to  influence  the  "active  principles"  of  a  man's 
nature.59  He  does  not  specify  what  these  principles  are,  but  recom- 
mends one  of  two  courses:  we  may  "dwell  upon  topics  which  are  likely 
to  call  out  the  feelings"  we  wish  to  excite;  or  we  may  "express  our  own 
feelings  in  such  a  way  as  to  communicate  them  to  others."  60  In  connec- 
tion with  the  latter  method  he  quotes  from  Aristotle  to  stress  the  im- 
portance of  the  speaker's  reputation. 

The  Ele^nU ^of  Rhetoric,  by  James  De  Mille,  was  published  in  1882. 
This  isTSi  imposing  work  of  564  £a^es,  very  similar  in  scope  and  method 
to  Hill's  Principles  of  Rhetoric.  Unlike  Hill,  however,  De  Mille  includes 
a  bx|ef ,  discussion  of  oratory  as  one  jof^tibe  "General  t>epartaienS^I)f 
literature";  the  six  other  departments  being  description,  narration, 
exposition,  dialog^^^irama,  and  poetry. 

The  study  of  rhetoric,  DeTWille  said,  "may  be  regarded  as  an  ana- 
lytical examination  of  literature." 61  Parts  I,  II,  and  III,  comprising  over 
half  the  book,  take  up  style.  Part  IV,  "Method,"  is  a  treatment  of  inven- 
tion, largely  along  Aristotelian  lines.  Part  V  discusses  the  "Emotions'* 
under  such  headings  as  "The  Beautiful/'  "The  Sublime/'  and  "The 


Ridiculous."  Part  VI  takes  up  the  "Departments  of  Literature"  referred 
to  above. 

In  the  chapter  dealing  with  oratory  De  Mille  treats  of  the  "Tactics  of 
Oratory,"  which  probably  represents  his  chief  contribution.  These 
"tactics/'  he  said,  may  be  defined  as  "special  devices  employed  by  ora- 
tors for  the  sake  of  persuading  their  hearers."  62  The  following  tactics 
are  discussed:  conciliation,  emphasis,  explanation,  answers  to  objec- 
tions, artifices,  attack,  defense,  display  of  feeling.  While  this  material 
is  drawn  directly  from  Aristotle  and  Cicero,  De  Mille  illustrates  it  with 
examples  drawn  chiefly  from  British  orators.63  The  examples  suggest  a 
fairly  close  acquaintanceship  with  Goodrich's  Select  British  Eloquence. 

The  last  major  work  of  the  century  which  attempted  to  present  a 
complete  system  of  rhetoric  was  John  Franklin  Genung's  The  Practical 
Elements  of  Rhetoric,  published  inTM6rHe"prepared  a  revision  of  the 
wdrfc  in  1900  which  he  called  The  Wdrking  Principles  of  Rhetoric.  An 
examination  of  the  two  works,  however,  fails  to  reveal  any  significant 
differences,  and  this  discussion  will  deal  only  with  the  earlier  work. 

Like  most  of  his  contemporaries,  Genung,  who  was  Professor  of 
Rhetoric  at  Amherst  College,  had  acc^tedAa^epaTation  of  voice  and 
delivery  from  rhetoric  proper.  Accordingly  his  book  has  two  parts: 


(3eames's,  force,  and  beauty  are  the  essential  qualities  of  style.  Its 
controlling  principle  Genung  draws  from  Herbert  Spencer:  "the  central 
principle  of  a  good  style  lies  in  the  economizing  of  the  reader  s  atten- 
tion." 64 

Genung's  treatment  of  invention,  while  essentially  classical  in  con- 
ception, represents  a  fairly  original  approach.  He  first  discusses  the 
"Basis  in  Mental  Aptitudes  and  Habits,"  pointing  out  that  while  inven- 
tion is  to  some  extent  a  natural  gift,  it  can  be  cultivated  by  the  develop- 
ment of  habits  of  "Observation,"  "Thought,"  and  "Reading."  65 

The  "General  Processes  in  the  Ordering  of  Material"  are  considered 
next  under  the  headings  of  "Determination  of  the  Theme,"  "Construc- 
tion of  the  Plan,"  and  "Amplification  "  66 

He  then  takes  up  Description,  which  he  calls  "Invention  dealing  with 
Observed  Objects";  Narration,  "Invention  dealing  with  Events";  Expo- 
sition, "Invention  dealing  with  Generalizations";  Argumentation,  "In- 
vention dealing  with  Truths";  and  Persuasion,  "Invention  dealing  with 
Practical  Issues."  67  In  the  first  four  of  these  divisions,  Genung  is  ad- 
dressing primarily  the  writer;  and  in  the  last  division  he  is  addressing  the 
speaker,  for  persuasion  "is  so  predominantly  the  work  of  oral  com- 
munication," it  "presupposes  a  speaker  at  close  quarters  with  his 
audience."  6S 

Genung's  development  of  the  principles  of  persuasion,  while  again 


classical  in  conception,  rests  upon  the  idea  of  Bain  that  to  be  a  persua- 
sive speaker,  "it  is  necessary  to  have  vividly  present  to  the  view  all  the 
leading  impulses  and  convictions  of  the  persons  addressed,  and  be 
ready  to  catch  at  every  point  of  identity  between  these  and  the  propo- 
sitions or  projects  presented  for  their  adoption."  69  In  addition  to  Bain? 
Genung  draws  material  from  many  of  his  contemporaries— notably 
Emerson  and  Henry  Ward  Beecher. 

The  last  work  of  the  nineteenth  century  to  be  considered  here  is  not 
strictly  speaking  a  treatise  on  rhetorical  theory.  The  Principles  of  Pub- 
lic Speaking,  by  Guy  Carleton  Lee,  was  published  in  1899.  It  is  probably 
the  first  book  by  an  American  which  could  properly  be  called  a  "speech" 
book  in  the  modern  sense.  That  is,  it  is  primarily  a  book  of  advice  and 
suggestions  on  how  to  do  such  things  as  improve  the  voice,  have  better 
bodily  response,  read  aloud,  prepare  and  deliver  a  speech,  and  take 
part  in  a  debate.  There  is  a  small  amount  of  theory  included,  but  for 
the  most  part  it  is  too  fragmentary  to  be  consistent. 

While  most  of  the  material,  particularly  that  dealing  with  voice  and 
gesture,  would  seem  very  artificial  and  impractical  to  the  contemporary 
student  of  speech,  it  is  worth  observing  that  by  the  end  of  the  century 
at  least  one  professor  of  rhetoric  had  gathered  together  all  the  canons 
of  rhetoric  and  had  attempted  to  formulate  a  consistent  field  of  study 
under  the  heading  of  "Public  Speaking." 

In  conclusion,  it  may  be  said  that  while  the  nineteenth  century  did 
not  produce  a  notable  advance  in  the  theory  of  rhetoric,  it  did  contrib- 
ute some  excellent  restatements  of  the  classical  doctrines.  The  most 
significant  American  contributions  were  probably  the  applications  of 
the  principles  of  faculty  psychology  to  rhetoric  by  such  men  as  Good- 
rich, Channing,  Day,  Hope,  and  Genung;  and  the  application  of  the 
principles  of  ethics  to  rhetoric  by  Shedd.  The  classical  tradition  of 
rhetoric  as  a  complete  field  of  study  including  all  the  canons  was  repre- 
sented in  the  century  by  Witherspoon,  Adams,  Porter,  Goodrich,  Chan- 
ning, Shedd,  Hope,  and,  to  some  extent,  Emerson,  Townsend,  and  Lee. 
The  principal  writers  who  had  accepted  the  separation  of  delivery  from 
the  other  canons  and  centered  their  attention  on  Invention  and  Style 
were  Knox,  Newman,  Boyd,  Day,  Bonnell,  Hill,  De  Mille,  and  Genung. 


A  consideration  of  the  development  of  rhetorical  theory  in  the  nine- 
teenth century  would  not  be  complete  without  considering  homiletics. 
Many  of  the  outstanding  rhetoricians  of  the  period— including  men  like 
Witherspoon,  Adams,  Goodrich,  Channing,  and  Porter— were  also  homi- 
leticians.  The  definition  of  homiletics  most  widely  accepted,  further- 


more,  treated  it  as  a  special  branch  or  application  of  rhetoric.  Shedd, 
for  example,  defined  homiletics  as  "the  term  that  has  been  chosen  to 
denote  the  application  of  the  principles  of  rhetoric  to  preaching.  It  is 
synonymous,  consequently,  with  Sacred  Rhetoric."  70  One  major  excep- 
tion to  this  definition  should  be  noted.  George  Hervey,  in  1873,  pub- 
lished his  very  interesting  System  of  Christian  Rhetoric  71  in  which  he 
constructed  an  elaborate  system  based  solely  on  the  Bible. 

To  give  a  detailed  account  of  the  treatment  of  each  of  the  leading 
figures  of  the  century  would  not  be  practical  for  our  present  purpose. 
Instead,  the  broad  outlines  of  homiletical  theory  will  be  briefly  sketched. 

The  purpose  or  goal  of  preaching  underwent  a  definite  change  in  the 
course  of  the  century.  At  the  beginning  of  the  century,  conviction  and 
persuasion,  considered  as  separate  tasks,  were  quite  commonly  accepted 
as  the  preacher's  primary  goal.  Tappan,  for  example,  regarded  persua- 
sion as  the  end  of  all  preaching.72  John  Q.  Adams,  on  the  other  hand, 
said  that  the  "means"  of  the  sermon  "are  persuasion;  its  object,  to  oper- 
ate upon  the  will  of  the  hearers;  its  results,  to  produce  action."  73  In  the 
early  years  of  the  century,  especially,  there  was  a  trend  away  from  the 
debate-brief  type  of  sermon  which  stressed  "conviction."  Channing,  for 
example,  stated  that  preachers  "have  addressed  men  as  creatures  of 
mere  intellect;  they  have  forgotten  that  the  affections  are  essential  to 
our  nature,  that  reason  and  sensibility  must  operate  together  or  we  shall 
never  act  with  perseverance  and  vigor."  74  Porter  also  objected  to  the 
debate-brief  arrangement  with  its  "applications,"  "uses,"  "propositions," 
"inferences,"  "counsels,"  and  "reflections."  That  he  was  thinking  in  terms 
of  the  traditional  conviction-persuasion  goal  is  indicated,  however,  by 
his  advocating  the  classical  arrangement  for  the  sermon:  exordium, 
proposition,  division,  discussion  or  argument,  and  conclusion.75 

Early  in  the  century,  however,  instruction  as  a  goal  or  purpose  in 
preaching  began  to  be  emphasized.  As  early  as  1800  Kirkland  had  stated 
that  instruction  is  the  first  branch  of  the  preacher  s  task.  What  revela- 
tion teaches  concerning  the  origin,  nature  and  destiny  of  man,  that  the 
preacher  must  explain.76  Emmons  expressed  a  growing  belief  when  he 
said  that  to  preach  is  to  instruct  and  to  instruct  is  generally  to  explain.77 
The  controversy  over  doctrines,  especially  between  the  liberal  and  con- 
servative Congregationalists,  made  it  necessary  for  preachers  to  explain 
these  doctrines  clearly,  and  probably  gave  added  weight  to  instruction 
as  a  goal. 

Throughout  the  century  doctrinal  subjects  were  most  universally  in 
demand.  Witherspoon's  Introductory  Lectures  on  Divinity,  for  example, 
take  up  the  doctrine  of  the  fall  of  man,  sin,  the  covenant  of  grace,  and 
kindred  subjects.78  Toward  the  end  of  the  century  a  few  authorities 
were  recommending  practical  or  ethical  subjects— foreshadowing  the 


twentieth-century  concept  that  the  minister  should  try  to  interpret  the 
social  and  ethical  problems  of  the  day  in  the  light  of  Christian  prin- 
ciples. The  great  majority  of  authorities  throughout  the  century,  how- 
ever, agreed  with  the  statement  of  Edwards  of  Andover:  "Sacred  Elo- 
quence is  the  art  of  speaking  well  on  sacred  subjects.  These  are  subjects 
which  relate  to  God,  to  Jesus  Christ,  to  the  Holy  Ghost,  to  the  souls  of 
men,  and  to  eternity/' 79 

Most  of  the  homileticians  of  this  century  discussed  disposition  as  an 
essential  part  of  their  complete  systems.  Witherspoon,  in  the  early 
period,  had  the  most  extensive  discussion  of  it,  pointing  out  that  out- 
lining is  an  aid  to  the  memory  as  well  as  adding  beauty,  brevity,  and 
force  to  the  sermon.80  Throughout  the  century,  and  particularly  in  the 
latter  half  of  it,  the  textual  type  of  sermon  was  most  widely  used.  A 
representative  statement  of  homiletic  opinion  is  that  of  Spurgeon: 
"Although  in  many  cases  topical  sermons  are  . . .  very  proper,  those  ser- 
mons which  expound  the  exact  words  of  the  Holy  Spirit  are  the  most 
useful  and  the  most  agreeable  to  the  major  part  of  our  congregations." 81 
Of  disposition  in  this  type  of  sermon,  Pattison  said,  "The  flavor  of  the 
text  is  everywhere  to  be  detected  in  the  sermon,  as  the  breath  of  the 
pine  forest  is  in  every  fir  cone  taken  from  it."  S2  Analysis  of  the  text  to 
find  its  exact  meaning  is  the  first  step  recommended,  to  be  followed  by 
the  formulation  of  a  theme.  Some  authorities  defined  the  theme  as  "the 
discourse  condensed,"  it  being  essentially  the  "germ"  of  the  sermon. 
Others  agreed  with  Shedd  that  the  theme  is  "an  enunciation  of  the  par- 
ticular truth  to  be  established  in  the  sermon."  83  Division  of  the  text  or 
theme  is  the  next  step  generally  recommended  by  homileticians  for  this 
century.  Divisions,  said  Hoppin,  are  "simply  the  different  parts  in  which 
the  main  subject  is  formally  separated  or  discussed."  84  Kidder,  for 
example,  quoted  from  Cicero,  "It  is  chiefly  order  that  gives  distinctness 
to  memory"  to  prove  that  breaking  up  the  theme  helps  both  the  preacher 
and  the  listener  to  remember  the  sermon.85 

The  principles  of  division  developed  by  the  nineteenth-century  homi- 
leticians were  in  agreement  with  the  ones  developed  by  logicians:  no 
division  should  be  coextensive  with  the  subject;  all  together  the  divisions 
should  exhaust  the  proposition;  a  single  principle  of  division  should  be 

The  nineteenth-century  homileticians  were  much  interested  in  the 
problem  of  sermon  style.  The  separation  of  delivery  from  the  aspects  of 
invention,  disposition,  and  style,  which  was  going  on  at  the  beginning 
of  the  century  probably  contributed  to  this  interest.  The  major  writers 
of  the  period  agreed  with  Channing  that  the  sermon  "must  not  be  set 
forth  and  tricked  out  in  the  light  drapery  of  artificial  rhetoric,  in  pretti- 
ness  of  style,  in  measured  sentences,  with  an  insipid  floridness,  and  the 


form  of  elegantly  feeble  essays."  87  Witherspoon,  of  the  early  writers, 
offered  the  most  complete  discussion  of  style,  devoting  five  chapters  to 
the  three  forms  of  style:  the  sublime,  simple,  and  mixed. 

The  different  interpretations  of  the  meaning  of  style  found  among 
secular  rhetoricians  is  also  encountered  among  the  homileticians.  Hop- 
pin,  Etter,  Fisk,  and  a  few  others  held  the  position  that  the  term  "style" 
includes  both  the  thought  and  its  expression:  "Style  is  the  general  term 
by  which  we  designate  the  qualities  of  thought  as  expressed  in  lan- 
guage." 8S  Most  authorities  in  this  century,  however,  followed  the  clas- 
sical doctrine  which  makes  "style"  much  the  same  as  "use  of  language." 
Broadus'  statement  is  representative  of  this  group:  "A  man's  style,  then, 
is  his  characteristic  manner  of  expressing  his  thoughts,  whether  in  writ- 
ing or  in  speech."  89  Indicative  of  the  emphasis  placed  on  style  is  the 
further  statement  by  Broadus  that  style  "is  the  glitter  and  polish  of  the 
warrior's  sword,  but  it  is  also  its  keen  edge.  It  can  render  mediocrity 
acceptable  and  even  attractive,  and  power  more  powerful  still,  It  can 
make  error  seductive,  while  truth  may  lie  unnoticed  for  want  of  its 
aid."  90  Probably  the  outstanding  treatment  of  style  in  the  latter  part  of 
the  century  was  that  of  Phelps.  His  English  Style  in  Public  Discourse, 
devoted  especially  to  pulpit  style,  was  widely  accepted  and  used  toward 
the  end  of  the  century.  Phelps  listed  seven  properties  of  good  style: 
purity,  meaning  grammatical  correctness;  precision,  which  he  distin- 
guished from  propriety  (or  purity)  by  saying:  "Propriety  is  satisfied  if 
we  write  good  English:  precision  demands  such  a  choice  of  good  Eng- 
lish as  shall  express  our  meaning"; 91  individuality;  perspicuity;  energy; 
elegance,  which  was  synonymous  with  "beauty"; 92  and  naturalness,  by 
which  he  meant  "fitness";  and  made  the  point  that  style  should  fit  the 
subject,  the  audience,  and  the  occasion. 

Bowling  93  and  Taylor,94  writing  in  the  middle  part,  and  Hervey  95 
in  the  latter  part  of  the  century,  presented  detailed  discussions  of  the 
value  and  technique  of  illustrative  preaching,  Dowling's  The  Power  of 
Illustration  is  a  short  book  containing  excellent  examples  of  illustrations 
of  all  kinds.  It  had  wide  use  and  probably  added  impetus  to  the  trend 
toward  expository  preaching  mentioned  previously.  "The  great  advan- 
tages," said  Dowling,  "resulting  from  the  use  of  striking  and  vivid  illus- 
trations, are,  that  they  serve  (1)  to  attract  and  secure  attention;  (2)  to 
afford  scope  for  copiousness  and  variety,  in  the  exhibition  of  truths 
which  have  long  been  familiar;  (3)  to  impress  the  memory  by  their 
point  and  force;  and  (4)  to  render  complex  and  difficult  subjects  easy 
and  plain."  96 

Of  all  the  canons  of  rhetoric,  delivery  received  probably  the  greatest 
attention  from  homileticians  during  the  nineteenth  century.  A  few  of 
them,  including  such  leaders  as  Porter,97  Ware,98  and  Russell 99  wrote 


texts  wliicli  dealt  exclusively  with  the  delivery  aspects  of  preaching.  In 
general,  the  writers  agreed  that  sincerity  and  naturalness  were  the  pri- 
mary requirements.  Witherspoon  advised  his  students  to  "study  great 
sincerity,  try  to  forget  every  purpose  but  the  very  end  of  speaking  infor- 
mation and  persuasion."  10°  Dwight  summarized  his  advice  on  delivery 
by  saying,  "To  preach  acceptably  demands  all  the  characteristics  already 
insisted  upon  in  this  discourse;  plainness,  variety,  boldness,  solemnity, 
earnestness,  and  affection."  101 

From  the  beginning  of  the  century,  writers  were  pointing  out  the 
stiffness  and  artificiality  both  in  style  and  delivery  brought  about  in 
part  at  least  by  the  practice  of  reading  sermons.  Griffin,  for  example, 
felt  that  this  "abuse"  was  introduced  by  "the  practice  of  writing  ser- 
mons. The  natural  manner  in  which  man  addresses  man  is  that  which 
prevails  in  conversation  and  in  more  animated  forms  of  speech  without 
writing/' 102  Some  of  the  earlier  writers  advocated  extemporaneous 
speaking  as  a  remedy  for  this  defect.  Many,  however,  were  slow  to 
accept  this  change.  John  Q.  Adams  was  representative  of  those  who  took 
a  middle  ground.  He  recognized  that  extemporized  preaching  may  con- 
tain more  warmth,  earnestness,  and  force;  but,  he  warned,  "the  stream 
which  flows  spontaneously,  is  almost  always  shallow,  and  runs  forever 
in  the  same  channel."  103  And  as  late  as  1898,  Thomas  Pattison  sounded 
much  the  same  warning:  "Undoubtedly  extemporaneous  speech  is  the 
highest  form  of  address.  But  let  us  beware  before  we  adopt  it  as  our 
constant  practice.  The  heights  to  which  this  method  lifts  us  may  usually 
be  very  lofty,  but  the  depth  to  which  it  sometimes  sinks  are  well-nigh 
unfathomable." 104  In  1824,  however,  Henry  Ware  published  his  Hints 
on  Extemporaneous  Preaching.,  and  most  authorities  from  that  time 
accepted  the  belief  that  extempore  delivery  is,  for  most  people,  the  most 
desirable.  Ware  emphasized  earnestness  as  the  central  problem  for 
effective  delivery.  Animation  of  manner,  he  said,  will  come  if  the 
speaker  is  fully  imbued  with  his  subject.  There  will  be  "more  of  the 
lighting  up  of  the  soul  in  the  countenance  and  the  whole  mein,  more 
freedom  and  meaning  in  the  gestures;  the  eye  speaks,  and  the  fingers 
speak,  and  when  the  orator  is  so  excited  as  to  forget  everything  but  the 
matter  on  which  his  mind  and  feeling  are  acting,  the  whole  body  is 
affected  and  helps  to  propagate  his  emotions  to  the  hearers."  105 

Porter's  Analysis  of  the  Principles  of  Rhetorical  Delivery  and  Russell's 
Pulpit  Elo,cution  are  probably  the  most  outstanding  contributions  by 
homileticians  to  the  new  science  of  elocution.  Although  most  writers 
preferred  to  leave  the  actual  teaching  of  elocution  to  the  professional 
elocutionists,  they  agreed  with  Broadus  that  speech  exists  only  in  the 
act  of  speaking,  and  the  sermon  cannot  be  separated  from  its  de- 
livery.106 By  the  middle  of  the  century,  it  was  commonly  agreed  that 


the  voice  can  and  should  be  developed  and  improved.  As  Kidder 
observed,  "It  is  a  very  inconsistent  philosophy  which  would  educate  the 
eye,  the  ear,  the  hand,  and  the  brain,  and  yet  refuse  culture  and  train- 
ing to  the  voice."  107 

Homiletical  theory  in  America  received  a  rapid  and  full  development 
in  the  nineteenth  century.  Starting  almost  from  scratch  at  the  opening 
of  t£?  century,  the  groundwork  laid  by  men  like  John  Witherspoon  and 
John  Quincy  Adams  was  rapidly  developed  by  such  scholars  and  teach- 
ers as  William  Ellery  Channing,  Henry  Ware,  Ebenezer  Porter,  Henry 
J.  Ripley,  William  Taylor,  John  Dowling,  George  Hervey,  William  Rus- 
sell, James  Alexander,  John  Broadus,  James  Hoppin,  Daniel  Kidder, 
Austin  Phelps,  and  William  G.  T.  Shedd.  The  application  of  the  prin- 
ciples of  rhetoric  to  the  art  of  preaching  may  be  said  to  have  been  com- 
pleted" by  tEe  end,  of  the  century.  The  major  development  of  the 
twenfieOTcentury,  a  trend  which  was  just  beginning  at  the  close  of  the 
nineteenth,  has  been  the  changing  conception  of  the  purpose  and  func- 
tion of  preaching.  To  the  hojnileticians  of .  the  last  century,  the  preacher 
was  an  inspired  individual  whose  function  was  primarily  to  interpret 
f  orTSTcongregation  the  Bible  and  the  Church,  with  man's  salvation  as 
the-grat  Iirthfp^esefiJ:  .century,  this  viewpoint.,  while  it  still  exists,  has 
slo^y*given  way  to  the  conception  of  preaching  as  an  interpretation  by 
the  minister  of  his  congregation's  social  and  ethical  problems  in  the 
light  7>I  Christian  principles. 


1.  John  Witherspoon,  Lectures  on  Moral  Philosophy  and  Eloquence,  3rd  ed. 
(Philadelphia,  1810),  pp.  150-154.  See  also  John  P.  Hoshor,  "Lectures  on  Rhetoric 
and  Public  Speaking  by  Chauncey  Allen  Goodrich/*  Speech  Monographs,  XIV 
(1947),  5-8. 

2.  Witherspoon,  pp.  233-234. 

3.  John  Q.  Adams,  Lectures  on  Rhetoric  and  Oratory  (Cambridge,  1810),  I, 
253-254,  and  III,  317-319. 

4.  Ibid.,  I,  14. 

5.  Ibid.,  I,  230. 

6.  A  Compendious  System  of  Rhetoric  (Baltimore,  1809),  p.  3. 

7.  A  Practical  System  of  Rhetoric  (Portland,  1827),  p.  1. 

8.  Ebenezer  Porter,  Lectures  on  Eloquence  and  Style,  ed.  Rev.  Lyman  Mat- 
thews (Andover,  1836). 

9.  Hoshor,  p.  5. 

10.  Ibid.,  p.  5. 

11.  Ibid.,  p.  30. 

12.  See  the  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation  (Iowa,  1947)  by  John  P.  Hoshor, 
"The  Rhetorical  Theory  of  Chauncey  Allen  Goodrich,"  p.  110. 

13.  Ibid.,  pp.  51-71. 

14.  Chauncey  Allen  Goodrich,  Select  British  Eloquence  (New  York,  1852),  p. 

15.  In  1846  and  1847,  Goodrich  revised  both  the  unabridged  and  the  abridged 
editions  of  Noah  Webster's  Dictionary  of  the  English  Language.  To  his  1856  revi- 


sion  of  the  University  edition  of  the  same  work  he  added  an  exhaustive  treatise  on 
the  principles  of  pronunciation. 

16.  Hoshor,  p.  110. 

17.  Ibid.,  p.  129. 

18.  Edward  T.  Channing,  Lectures  Read  to  the  Seniors  in  Harvard  College 
(Boston,  1856),  p.  31. 

19.  Ibid.,  p.  41. 

20.  Ibid.,  p.  35-40. 

21.  Ibid.,  p.  203-204. 

22.  Edward  T.  Channing,  "Philosophical  Essays.  By  James  Ogilvie,"  North 
American  Review,  IV  (March,  1817),  385,  386.  See  also  Channing,  Lectures,  p.  31. 

23.  Channing,  Lectures,  p.  17. 

24.  Ibid.,  p.  20. 

25.  Orators  Guide  (Philadelphia,  1822),  p.  5. 

26.  Ibid.,  p.  22. 

27.  Elements  of  Rhetoric  and  Literary  Criticism,  6th  ed.   (New  York,  1848), 
p,  ix. 

28.  Ibid.,  p.  x. 

29.  William  G.  T.  Shedd,  trans.  Eloquence  A  Virtue;  or,  Outlines  of  a  Sys- 
tematic Rhetoric,  by  Francis  Theremin  (New  York,  1850),  p.  viii. 

30.  Ibid.,  p.  TOX. 

31.  Eloquence  a  Virtue,  p.  69. 

32.  Ibid.f  p.  71. 

33.  In  Discourses  and  Essays  (Andover,  1859),  p.  91. 

34.  Ibid.,  p.  92. 

35.  P.  lii. 

36.  The  Art  of  Discourse:  A  System  of  Rhetoric,  10th  ed.  (New  York,  1867), 
p.  4. 

37.  Ibid.,  p.  14. 

38.  Ibid.9  p.  41. 

39.  Ibid.9  p.  49. 

40.  Day,  Elements,  pp.  165-289. 

41.  Princeton  Textbook  in  Rhetoric  (Princeton,  1859),  p.  iv. 

42.  Ibid.9  p.  2. 

43.  Ibid.9  p.  84, 
-44.   Ibid.9  p.  2. 

45.  Ibid.9  p.  289. 

46.  In  Emerson s  Complete  Works,  Riverside  ed.  (Boston,  1875),  VIII,  126. 

47.  Ibid.,  VII,  63. 

48.  Ibid.,  p.  67. 

49.  Ibid.9  p.  68. 

50.  Ibid.9  p.  85. 

51.  Ibid.9  p.  88. 

52.  Ibid.,  p.  89. 

53.  Ibid.9  p.  91. 

54.  The  Outlines  of  Rhetoric  (Rochester,  New  York,  1877),  p.  3. 

55.  The  Art  of  Speech  (New  York,  1880),  I,  34. 

56.  Ibid.9  II,  13. 

57.  Rhetoric  as  an  Art  of  Persuasion  (Des  Moines,  Iowa,  1880),  p.  45. 

58.  Principles  of  Rhetoric  (New  York,  1889),  p.  in. 

59.  Ibid.,  p.  237. 

60.  Ibid.9  p.  240. 

61.  The  Elements  of  Rhetoric  (New  York,  1882),  p.  vi. 

62.  lbid.9  p.  76. 

63.  Ibid.9  p.  485-503. 

64.  Practical  Elements  of  Rhetoric  (New  York,  1886),  pp.  19-27. 

65.  Ibid.,  pp.  220-235. 


66.  Ibid.,  pp.  248-302. 

67.  Ibid.,  pp.  326-476. 

68.  Ibid.,  p.  449. 

69.  Ibid.,  p.  448. 

70.  Homiletics  and  Pastoral  Theology  (New  York,  1867),  p.  38. 

71.  (New  York,  1873). 

72.  David  N.  Tappan,  "A  Sermon  delivered  at  Kennebunk,  September  3,  1800 
at  the  Ordination  of  Reverend  Nathaniel  Fletcher,"  in  Waterman  Pamphlets,  Vol. 
128,  Library  of  Congress. 

73.  Adams,  Lectures,  p.  330. 

74.  William  Ellery  Channing,  "A  Sermon  Delivered  at  the  Ordination  of  the 

Reverend  Ezra  Stiles  Gannett June  30,  1815,"  in  Waterman  Pamphlets,  Vol.  3, 

Library  of  Congress,  p.  19. 

75.  Ebenezer  Porter,  Lectures  on  Homiletics  and  Preaching,  and  on  Public 
Prayer,  Together  with  Sermons  and  Letters  (New  York,  1834),  p.  116. 

76.  John  Kirkland,  A  Sermon  Preached  at  Taunton,  January  5,  1 800,  at  the 
Ordination  of  the  Reverend  John  Pipon. . . .  ( Cambridge,  1800 ) ,  p.  7. 

77.  Nathaniel  F.  Emmons,  A  Sermon  Delivered  at  the  Ordination  of  the  Rev- 
erend John  Robinson. . .  .January  14,  1789  (Providence,  1789),  p.  4. 

78.  John  Witherspoon,  The  Works  of  the  Reverend  John  Witherspoon,  ed.  John 
Rodgers,  III,  62  ff. 

79.  Justin  Edwards,  "An  Address  on  Pulpit  Eloquence,"  in  Henry  Burder, 
Mental  Discipline  (New  York,  1830),  p.  186. 

80.  Witherspoon,  Works,  pp.  443-446. 

81.  Charles  Haddon  Spurgeon,  Lectures  to  My  Students  (London,   1875), 
p.  112. 

82.  Thomas  Harwood  Pattison,  The  Making  of  the  Sermon,  For  the  Classroom 
and  the  Study  (Philadelphia,  1880),  p.  65. 

83.  Shedd,  Homiletics,  p.  183. 

84.  James  M.  Hoppin,  Homiletics  (New  York,  1883),  p  382. 

85.  Daniel  P.  Kidder,  A  Treatise  on  Homiletics,  Designed  to  Illustrate  the  True 
Theory  and  Practice  of  Preaching  the  Gospel  (New  York,  1864),  p.  215. 

86.  See  the  following:  John  A.  Broadus,  A  Treatise  on  the  Preparation  and 
Delivery  of  Sermons,  30th  ed.   (New  York,  1898),  p.  288;  Kidder,  Treatise  on 
Homiletics,  p.  200;  Hoppin,  Hormletics,  p.  389;  Austin  Phelps,  The  Theory  of 
Preaching  (New  York,  1905),  p.  391,  John  W.  Etter,  The  Preacher  and  His  Ser- 
mon, A  Treatise  on  Homiletics  (Dayton,  Ohio,  1885),  p.  192. 

87.  William  Ellery  Channing,  A  Sermon  Delivered  at  the  Ordination  of  the 
Reverend  Ezra  Stiles  Gannett June  30th,  1824  (Boston,  1824),  p.  13. 

88.  Hoppin,  Homiletics,  p.  2. 

89.  Broadus,  Treatise,  p.  340. 

90.  Ibid.,  p.  342. 

91.  Austin  Phelps,  English  Style  in  Public  Discourse,  with  Special  Reference 
to  the  Usages  of  the  Pulpit  (New  York,  1915),  p.  79. 

92.  Ibid.,  pp.  6,  126-128,  202-217. 

93.  John  Dowling,  The  Power  of  Illustration  an  Element  of  Success  in  Preach- 
ing and  Teaching,  2d  ed.  (New  York,  1847). 

94.  William  Taylor,  The  Model  Preacher  (Cincinnati,  1859). 

95.  George  W.  Harvey,  A  System  of  Christian  Rhetoric  for  the  Use  of  Preach- 
ers and  Other  Speakers  (New  York,  1873). 

96.  Dowling,  Power  of  Illustration,  pp.  12-13. 

97.  Ebenezer  Porter,  Analysis  of  the  Principles  of  Rhetorical  Delivery  as 
Applied  to  Reading  and  Speaking,  4th  ed.  ( New  York,  1831 ). 

98.  Henry  Ware,  Hints  on  Extemporaneous  Preaching  (Boston,  1824). 

99.  William  Russell,  Pulpit  Elocution  (Andover,  1846). 
100.   Witherspoon,  Works,  p.  455. 


101.  Timothy  Dwight,  "Sermon  CLIIL  The  Means  of  Grace— Extraordinary 
Means  o£  Grace— The  Manner  of  Preaching,"  in  Timothy  Dwight,  Theology  Ex- 
plained (Edinburgh,  1837),  p.  798, 

102.  Edward  Griffin,  A  Sermon  on  the  Art  of  Preaching,  Delivered  Before  the 
Pastoral  Association  of  Massachusetts  (Boston,  1825),  p.  26. 

103.  Adams,  Lectures,  p.  341. 

104.  Pattison,  Making  of  the  Sermon,  p.  326. 

105.  Ware,  Extemporaneous  Preaching,  p.  6. 

106.  Broadus,  Treatise,  p.  480. 

107.  Kidder,  Treatise  on  Homilectics,  p.  330. 

/      Rhetorical  and  Elocutionary  Training  in 
Nineteenth-Century  Colleges 


On  December  8, 1819,  Edward  T.  Charming,  on  being  inducted  into 
the  Boylston  Professorship  of  Rhetoric  and  Oratory  at  Harvard  Univer- 
sity, observed:  "It  is  the  spirit  of  the  age  to  turn  everything  to  account, 
and  to  let  no  good  learning  remain  idle.  How  is  it  that  eloquence  has 
gone  behind-hand?"  l  At  that  time,  Channing  had  the  distinction  of  be- 
ing one  of  the  few  men  in  American  colleges  who  were  engaged  solely 
to  give  rhetorical  training.  To  understand  Channing's  lament,  one  must 
survey  what  had  gone  on  in  American  Colleges  before  1819. 

In  the  eighteenth  century,  training  in  rhetoric  and  oratory  at  Harvard, 
and  most  colleges,  had  been  provided  not  by  one  instructor  especially 
selected  for  the  work,  but  by  the  incidental  direction  of  tutors  giving 
instruction  in  a  variety  of  subjects.  There  had  been  distinguished  men 
in  the  eighteenth  century  who  gave  serious  if  not  exclusive  attention  to 
rhetoric,  but  they  were  the  exception  to  the  rule.  John  Witherspoon  had 
attempted  systematic  training  at  Princeton;  2  Timothy  Dwight,  long 
interested  in  the  literary  life  of  the  country,  incited  interest  in  rhetoric 
at  Yale,  even  as  a  tutor.  By  his  "example  and  his  instructions,"  he  pro- 
duced a  "great  reform  in  the  style  of  writing  and  speaking/' 3  He  deliv- 
ered to  the  students  a  series  of  lectures  on  style  and  composition,  "on  a 
plan  very  similar  to  that  contained  in  Blair's  lectures,  which  were  not 
published  until  a  considerable  time  afterward."  4  About  1770,  "the  art 
of  public  speaking  began  for  the  first  time  in  the  history  of  the  college 
to  be  excited."  Dwight  continued  his  instruction  after  he  became  presi- 
dent of  Yale  in  1795.  The  job  of  giving  rhetorical  training  to  students 
frequently  was  one  of  the  miscellaneous  duties  college  presidents 



Students  seemed  to  desire  rhetorical  activity  other  than  that  provided 
by  the  system  of  syllogizing,  disputation,  and  declamation  that  had 
been  part  of  college  training  from  the  beginning  in  America.  As  early 
as  1719,  the  Spy  Club  was  formed  at  Harvard  and  students  instructed 
themselves  in  the  art  of  discourse.  Yale  and  Princeton  soon  followed 
with  similar  societies— the  Critonian,  Linonian,  and  Brothers  in  Unity  at 
Yale,  and  the  American  Whig  at  Princeton.  In  1770,  Harvard  students 
formed  a  speaking  Club.  There  had  been,  they  claimed,  a  "cold  indif- 
ference to  the  practice  of  oratory."  5  But  following  the  Boston  Massacre 
there  was  a  "feast  of  patriotic  oratory"; 6  declamations  and  forensic 
disputes  breathed  "the  spirit  of  liberty."  7 

Following  the  American  Revolution,  in  1798,  Harvard  students  having 
become  "exceedingly  interested  in  the  grave  questions  then  before  the 
country"  sought  college  "sanction"  for  a  meeting  designed  for  the  "pur- 
pose of  expressing  their  opinions  on  the  then  existing  crisis  of  our 
public  affairs."  8  "Though  removed  from  active  life,"  they  "watched 
with  anxiety  the  interests  of  our  country"  and  through  public  address 
solemnly  offered  "the  unwasted  ardor  and  unimpaired  energies  of  our 
youth  to  the  service  of  our  country."  9  Financial  difficulties  in  the  col- 
leges prevented  adjustment  of  the  curriculum  to  student  interests  in 
post-Revolution  days,  although  college  authorities  realized  the  need  for 
reorganization  and  adjustment  to  a  new  era.  "College  was  never  in  a 
worse  state  than  when  I  entered  it,"  noted  a  student  of  the  Class  of 
1798  at  Harvard.  ccThe  old  foundations  of  social  order,  loyalty,  tradition, 
habits,  reverence  for  antiquity,  were  everywhere  shaken,  if  not  sub- 
verted. . . .  The  old  forms  were  outgrown,  and  new  ones  had  not  taken 

their  place The  system  of  government  and  instruction  went  on  very 

much  as  it  had  done  for  years  before,  and  the  result  was  a  state  of  great 
insubordination " 10 

But  a  new  culture  was  in  the  making,  a  culture  that  was  to  promote 
literary  independence  as  well  as  political  independence,  and  colleges 
were  soon  to  adjust  to  the  change.  "It  is  high  time  that  the  young  Hercu- 
les, who  has  strangled  the  serpents,  should  go  forth  in  the  plentitude  of 
muscular  force,  and  perform  the  mighty  labors  assigned  him,"  wrote  a 
young  American  college  graduate  while  traveling  in  Europe  in  1803. 
"American  literature  ought  to  bud,  it  ought  to  promise  future  fruits  of 
Hesperian  luxuriance."  ia  In  1803,  New  England  promulgated  its  first 
literary  magazine,  the  Monthly  Anthology;  in  1815,  it  launched  the 
North  American  Review.  In  the  same  year,  two  native  sons,  George 
Ticknor  and  Edward  Everett  started  their  wanderjahre  in  Germany, 
seeking  inspiration  and  learning  which  were  later  to  help  stimulate  the 
development  of  American  letters.  In  1803,  the  Monthly  Anthology 
noted:  "The  fine  arts,  in  America,  have  not  made  a  very  rapid  progress, 


nor  is  their  establishment  very  great  in  any  particular  State  ...  it  is  our 

ardent  desire  to  promote  their  progress  among  us " 12  Its  second 

issue  defined  the  ideals  for  eloquence:  "Eloquence  is  not  an  introduc- 
tory science,  which  youth  can  be  taught  from  books.  It  is  the  glorious 
talent  of  improving  all  the  treasures  of  art  and  of  science,  of  history  and 
of  nature  to  the  illumination,  conviction  and  subjugation  of  the  hearts 
of  men.  It  is  the  dome  of  the  temple,  the  perfection  of  human  powers, 
the  action  of  mind  on  mind,  the  lightening  of  the  moral  world."  13  In 
1810,  when  John  Quincy  Adams  published  his  Lectures  on  Rhetoric  and 
Oratory,  he  did  so  with  "an  undoubting  confidence  that  they  will  do 
good.  They  will  excite  the  genius,  stimulate  the  literary  ambition,  and 
improve  the  taste  of  the  rising  generation/' 14  He  wrote  to  improve  the 
art  of  the  forum,  the  art  of  the  lawyer,  the  art  of  letters,  in  addition  to 
the  art  of  the  pulpit. 

The  published  lectures  of  Adams  were  a  high  point  in  the  history  of 
American  rhetorical  theory.  They  were  made  by  the  occupant  of  the 
first  Chair  of  Rhetoric  and  Oratory  in  the  country.  The  history  of  its 
establishment  reveals  in  concrete  form  transitional  elements  from  the 
eighteenth  century  and  the  nineteenth  century.  It  was  in  1771  that  the 
will  of  Nicholas  Boylston,  wealthy  benefactor  of  Harvard,  revealed 
the  possibility  of  a  chair  in  rhetoric  and  oratory:  "I  give  &  bequeath  unto 
the  President  &  Fellows  of  Harvard  College  in  Cambridge  in  the  County 
of  Middlesex  the  sum  of  one  thousand  five  hundred  Pounds  lawfull 
money  . . .  toward  the  Support  and  Maintenance  of  some  well  Qualified 
Person  who  shall  be  elected  by  the  President  and  Fellows  of  said  College 
for  the  time  being  and  approved  of  by  the  Overseers  of  said  College  to  be 

the  Professor  of  Rhetoric  and  Oratory " 15  But  thirty  years  passed 

and  nothing  was  done  about  the  bequest.  When  suit  by  the  heirs  was 
threatened  for  the  recovery  of  the  grant,16  Harvard  bestirred  itself.  On 
June  24, 1805,  the  Corporation  unanimously  elected  the  Honorable  John 
Quincy  Adams,  relative  of  the  donor,  United  States  Senator,  and  promis- 
ing literary  man,  who  was  to  become  the  sixth  president  of  the  United 
States,  to  the  first  Professorship.  He  gave  his  first  lecture  July  11,  1806 
and  noted  in  his  diary:  "I  this  day  commenced  my  course  of  lectures  on 
rhetoric  and  oratory,— an  undertaking  of  magnitude  and  importance. . . . 
My  lecture  was  well  received,  and  could  I  hope  that  the  issue  of  the 
whole  course  would  bear  a  proportion  to  the  effect  of  this  introduction, 
I  should  be  fully  satisfied."  1T  For  the  next  three  years  during  term, 
Adams  appeared  at  ten  o'clock  on  Friday  mornings  to  deliver  a  lecture 
on  rhetoric  and  at  two  o'clock  in  the  afternoons  to  preside  over  student 

"A  subject,  which  has  exhausted  the  genius  of  Aristotle,  Cicero,  and 
Quintilian,  can  neither  require  nor  admit  much  additional  illustra- 


tion," 10  observed  Adams  in  his  Inaugural  lecture.  Accordingly,  the  first 
American  professor  of  rhetoric  and  oratory  drew  heavily  upon  the  clas- 
sical tradition.  Many  later  practitioners  in  the  nineteenth  century  fol- 
lowed his  example,  but  there  was  a  variety  of  systems.  The^  stream  of 
rhetorical  and  elocutionary  training  in  the  nineteenth  century  needs 
detailed  charting.  Through  the  age,  now  swift  flowing,  now  quiescent, 
continued  the  main  channel  of  classical  rhetoric.  Many  tributaries  fed 
it  and  at  times,  indeed,  rivaled  the  main  stream  in  size  and  momentum 
—the  science  of  voice,  the  quasi-scientific  elocutionary  system,  the  com- 
bination of  muscle  and  vocal  rhythm  in  Delsartian  systems.  At  times 
the  course  was  narrowed  to  make  way  for  an  expanding  curriculum  and 
social  life,  for  journalism,  the  sciences,  the  fraternity  and  athletics.  But 
the  stream  flowed  on,  and  gathering  volume  and  momentum,  at  the 
end  of  the  century  cascaded  into  what  we  now  know  as  the  modern 
department  of  speech.  It  is  convenient  to  chart  this  movement  in  periods 
of  quarter  centuries. 



On  the  surface,  rhetorical  training  in  the  first  quarter  of  the  nine- 
teenth century  did  not  seem  to  differ  materially  from  what  had  been 
the  vogue  in  the  late  eighteenth  century.  At  Yale,  Freshmen  received 
training  in  Cicero's  De  Oratore  and  Sophomores  studied  Lindley  Mur- 
ray's English  Grammar.  All  the  students,  regardless  of  class,  were  re- 
quired in  daily  rotation  to  "exhibit"  compositions  of  various  kinds,  and 
submit  them  to  the  instructor's  criticism.  Meeting  in  units  of  four,  they 
declaimed,  publicly  and  privately,  on  Tuesdays  and  Fridays,  in  English, 
Latin,  Greek,  or  Hebrew;  when  required,  each  had  to  hand  in  a  copy 
of  his  declamation  "fairly  written."  Seniors  and  Juniors  also  disputed 
forensically  before  the  class,  twice  a  week,  on  a  question  approved  by 
the  instructor;  when  the  disputants  had  finished,  the  instructor  dis- 
cussed the  matter  at  length,  giving  his  own  views  on  the  problems  and 
on  the  arguments  of  both  sides.  One  student  assured  his  parents  that  all 
the  disputes  and  compositions  required  "a  great  deal  of  hard  thinking 
and  also  close  application."  20  Programs  at  the  other  colleges  were 
strikingly  similar.  Yale  may  have  been  a  bit  more  fortunate  than  most 
schools  in  having  Timothy  Dwight,  the  president,  handle  the  rhetorical 
training  for  Seniors.  "Intellectually,  the  Senior  year  was  the  best  to  me," 
observed  Lyman  Beecher,  a  student  during  Dwight's  first  years  in  the 
presidency.  "We  all  looked  forward  to  Dr.  Dwight's  instructions  with 
interest.  We  began  with  Blair's  Rhetoric,  half  an  hour's  recitation,  and 
an  hour  or  hour  and  a  half  of  extempore  lecture On  two  other  days 


we  had  written  or  extempore  debates  before  Dr.  Dwight,  he  summing 
up  at  the  close/' 21  Subjects  of  the  debates  were  varied:  "Ought  Capital 
Punishment  ever  to  be  inflicted?"  "Ought  Foreign  Immigration  to  be 
encouraged?"  "Ought  the  Liberty  of  the  Press  to  be  restricted?"  "Does 
the  Mind  always  Think?"  "Is  a  Public  Education  preferable  to  a  pri- 
vate?" "Which  have  the  greatest  influence  in  Forming  a  National  Char- 
acter, Moral  or  Physical  Causes?"  "Ought  the  Clergy  to  be  supported  by 
Law?"  Dwight  obviously  encouraged  free  discussion,  even  permitting 
the  students  to  dispute  the  question,  "Is  the  Bible  the  Word  of  God?" 
As  one  studies  the  record  of  the  disputations,  he  notes  attention  to  cor- 
rectness of  diction,  pronunciation,  soundness  of  argument,  and  judg- 
ment.22 Commencement  programs  in  the  early  years  of  the  century 
abounded  in  forensic  disputations,  orations,  dissertations,  deliberative 
discussions,  essays,  and  colloquies,23  as  they  had  done  for  years  before. 
Whereas  the  system  seemed  about  the  same  as  it  was  in  the  eigh- 
teenth century,  there  were,  in  fact,  differences  in  goals  and  ends.  Not 
only  were  colleges  being  pressed  to  train  for  professions  other  than  the 
clergy  for  which  the  early  system  of  rhetorical  training  was  designed, 
but  the  clergy  itself  had  begun  to  demand  a  new  kind  of  training. 
"American  rhetoric"  in  1785  was  "closely  allied  with  oratory,"  observes 
Warren  Guthrie,  "but  gradually  moved  more  and  more  into  the  realm 
of  composition  and  criticism— belles  lettres."  24  Students  had  always 
been  required  to  write  as  a  basis  for  oratorical  training.  One  must 
remember  that  a  year  before  John  Quincy  Adams  became  Professor  of 
Rhetoric  and  Oratory  at  Harvard,  a  Unitarian,  Henry  Ware,  had  been 
elected  Hollis  Professor  of  Divinity,25  and  New  England  churches  be- 
gan to  fill  their  pulpits  with  'liberal"  ministers.  In  1810,  John  Kirkland, 
a  Unitarian,  became  president  of  Harvard.  Unitarians  shifted  the  em- 
phasis in  sermonizing  away  from  the  rigidly  logical  sermon,  for  which 
disputations  had  been  excellent  training,  to  the  "literary  sermon."  26 
Sermons  began  to  be  praised  for  their  grace  and  beauty,  and  criticized 
for  an  absence  of  "sound  doctrine."  Men  like  Joseph  Buckminster,  Ed- 
ward Everett,  and  William  Ellery  Channing,  superbly  graceful  writers 
and  speakers,  were  occupying  the  pulpits,  and  crowds  were  respond- 
ing to  the  new  aesthetic  appeal,  even  as  the  old  line  Calvinists  were 
readying  themselves  for  attack  both  on  the  new  theology  and  the  new 
method  of  sermonizing.  Although  Lyman  Beecher  believed  that  "the 
plain,  simple,  energetic,  argumentative  style  of  New  England  preach- 
ing . . .  admits  of  becoming  the  best  pulpit  style  in  the  world,"  even  he, 
in  1820,  was  forced  "for  the  sake  of  maintaining  our  ground"  to  go  "as 
far  as  I  could  go  to  satisfy  by  popular  oratory  those  who  would  be 
formed  on  a  worse  model. . . ."  2r  "Time  was,  when  the  good  people  of 
this  land  retired  silently  from  the  sanctuary,  saying  little  of  the  sermon, 


and  more  of  the  duty  of  improving  it,"  noted  a  critic  of  New  England 
preaching  during  the  period.  "But  now.,  sermons  have  their  day.  In 
some  of  our  cities  and  villages,  it  has  become  a  point  of  etiquette  to 
talk  about  them,— to  descant  on  their  merits  and  defects,— to  point  out 

the  beautiful  passages  and  the  bad "  "Like  the  last  tale  or  poem/' 

the  sermon  was  "talked  about"  and  it  became  "just  as  useless,  as  a  'tale 
that  is  told/  "  28  Sermons  had  clearly  become  "literary  efforts"  and  were 
thought  of  as  artistic  productions,  quite  as  much  as  were  the  essays  in 
the  Monthly  Anthology  or  the  North  American  Review.  Eclectic  in  their 
ministerial  training,  many  of  the  young  clergymen  were  united  in  their 
enthusiasm  for  literature  and  literary  study.  Through  their  preaching 
they  were  trying  to  bring  about  new  American  ideals  and  were  exempli- 
fying habits  of  preaching  and  writing  quite  different  from  those  of  the 
eighteenth  century. 

It  is  not  so  much  that  rhetorical  training  was  moving  in  the  direction 
of  written  composition  (for  rhetorical  training  had  always  been  allied 
with  both  speaking  and  writing),  but  that  a  new  type  of  training  had 
become  necessary  even  for  the  sermon.  "If  we  wished  to  impoverish  a 
man's  intellect/'  wrote  the  popular  William  Ellery  Channing,  brother 
of  the  Boylston  Professor  of  Rhetoric  and  Oratory,  "we  could  devise 
few  means  more  effectual,  than  to  confine  him  to  what  is  called  a  course 
of  theological  reading."  29  In  his  own  preparation,  he  strayed  from  con- 
ventional methods,  proclaiming  "I  am  now  totally  immersed  in  litera- 
ture. I  have  settled  a  course  of  reading  for  three  years. . .  /' 30  Whereas 
oratory  was  being  forced  to  give  way  to  other  types  of  literary  art,  the 
oration  itself  began  to  change  its  form  and  would  soon  appear  as  the 

The  textbook  most  widely  used  for  rhetorical  training  at  the  opening 
of  the  century  and  continuing  for  more  than  a  quarter  of  a  century 
thereafter  was  Hugh  Blair's  Lectures  on  Rhetoric  and  Belles  Lettres. 
Published  in  1783,  it  was  ordered  by  Brown  University  college  library 
in  the  same  year  and  adopted  by  Yale  as  a  text  in  1785  and  by  Harvard 
in  1788.  By  1803  it  was  the  "most  popular  rhetorical  work  in  the  col- 
leges." 31  Steeped  in  the  classical  tradition,  Blair,  nevertheless,  did  not 
consider  rhetoric  merely  to  be  concerned  with  oral  persuasion,  "To 
speak  or  to  write  perspicuously  and  agreeably,  with  purity,  with  grace 
and  strength,  are  attainments  of  the  utmost  consequence  to  all  who  pro- 
pose, either  by  speech  or  writing,  to  address  the  public."  32  Blair  who 
"would  stop  hounds  by  his  eloquence"  33  was  a  Scottish  minister  whose 
published  Sermons  were  "elegant  and  perspicuous  discourses/' 34:  A 
country  becoming  increasingly  self-conscious  about  its  literature  and  a 
clergy  moving  rapidly  away  from  old  methods  of  sermonizing  found 
Blair's  Lectures  on  Rhetoric  and  Belles  Lettres  well  adapted  to  their 


needs.  "The  study  of  composition,  important  in  itself  at  all  times,  has 
acquired  additional  importance  from  the  taste  and  manners  of  the 
present  age,"  noted  Blair.  "It  is  an  age  wherein  improvements,  in  every 
part  of  science,  have  been  prosecuted  with  ardour.  To  all  the  liberal 
arts  much  attention  has  been  paid;  and  to  none  more  than  to  the  beauty 
of  language,  and  the  grace  and  elegance  of  every  kind  of  writing.  The 
public  ear  is  become  refined.  It  will  not  easily  bear  what  is  slovenly  and 
incorrect.  Every  author  must  aspire  to  some  merit  in  expression,  as  well 
as  in  sentiment,  if  he  would  not  incur  the  danger  of  being  neglected 
and  despised."  35  To  Blair,  the  study  of  Rhetoric  and  Belles  Lettres  pre- 
supposes and  requires  a  proper  acquaintance  with  the  rest  of  the  liberal 
arts.  "It  embraces  them  all  within  its  circle,  and  recommends  them  to 
the  highest  regard."  36  Blair  concerned  himself  not  only  with  instruc- 
tions in  speech-making  but  with  instructions  for  historical  writing, 
philosophical  writing,  and  poetry,  including  the  lyric,  the  epic,  tragic 
drama,  and  comedy. 

Supplementing  the  rhetorical  program  in  most  of  the  colleges  at  the 
beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century  was  a  strongly  classical  program.  It 
normally  included  logic,  and  the  study  of  Greek  and  Latin.  In  the  pro- 
gram usually  were  Cicero's  and  Demosthenes'  orations,  Cicero's  De 
Oratore  and  Quintilian's  Institutes  of  Oratory,  although  the  latter  was 
not  available  in  "numbers  sufficient  to  supply  a  Class"  37  in  some  col- 
leges. The  pattern  of  rhetorical  training  was  similar  in  colleges  through- 
out the  country.  Newly  organized  schools  tended  to  draw  their  inspira- 
tion, their  plans,  and  their  instructors  and  presidents  from  the  older 

Still,  in  1819,  at  the  beginning  of  Channing's  long  incumbency,  there 
was  dissatisfaction  with  rhetorical  training,  despite  the  fact  that  it  was 
becoming  more  systematized  than  it  had  earlier  been.  By  1824,  Brown, 
Yale,  and  Bowdoin  had  followed  Harvard  in  establishing  chairs  of 
rhetoric.  The  textbooks  and  methods  employed  in  teaching  rhetoric 
threw  emphasis  on  theory,  with  little  distinction  between  the  art  of  the 
speaker  and  the  art  of  the  writer.  The  public  looked  upon  exhibitions  of 
student  speaking  and  found  them  not  much  better  than  they  had  been. 
"A  branch  of  instruction  which  has  been  shamefully  neglected  (the 
word,  I  own,  is  a  harsh  one),"  noted  William  Tudor,  traveler  and  ob- 
server of  a  Harvard  Commencement  program,  "has  been  oratory,— or 
rather,  elocution.  Every  person  who  has  attended  a  college  exhibition, 
would  see,  with  disgust,  more  than  half  the  exhibiters  speak  their  parts 
in  such  a  slovenly,  awkward  manner,  as  would  not  have  been  tolerated 
in  a  village  school. . . .  There  is  a  professorship  of  rhetoric  and  oratory, 
—but  its  principal  duties  are  the  instruction  in  the  former,  in  the  forma- 
tion of  style  and  the  theory  of  speaking."  39 


Occasionally  the  teachers  were  blamed  for  the  deficiencies.  Both  their 
methods  and  their  emphasis  were  found  to  be  at  fault.  "As  for  oratory, 
Mr.  Channing's  professorship  was  a  sinecure/'  noted  one  of  his  students. 
"He  had,  as  a  speaker,  no  grace,  nor  any  great  diversity  of  modulation; 
and  his  gestures  were  awkward,  seeming  to  denote  rather  his  discom- 
fort at  being  obliged  to  speak  than  the  mood  of  thought  or  feeling  to 
which  he  gave  expression."  40  Channing  conducted  public  declamations 
in  the  college  chapel  once  a  fortnight,  with  the  whole  Senior  class 
obliged  to  attend.  A  certain  number  in  their  turn,  according  to  alpha- 
betical order  repeated  "with  such  show  of  oratory  as  they  could  sev- 
erally command,  pieces  of  their  own  choice  in  poetry  or  prose,  oftener 
in  poetry."  Channing  "listened  attentively  to  these  declamations,  and 
marked  them  ...  on  a  scale  of  twenty-four;  but  he  never  made  any  com- 
ment, unless  it  were  to  rebuke  the  choice  of  a  piece  offensively  coarse, 
or  some  outrageous  grotesqueness  in  delivery/7  41  Of  the  Boylston  Pro- 
fessor of  Rhetoric,  Oliver  Wendell  Holmes  wrote: 

Channing,  with  his  bland,  superior  look, 
Cold  as  a  moonbeam  on  a  frozen  brook. . .  .42 

Channing  was  rather  obviously  more  concerned  with  developing  the 
literary  life  of  New  England  than  in  giving  individual  training  in  oral 
expression.  He  had  little  equipment  and  training  for  aiding  students  to 
remedy  vocal  deficiencies.  He  could  help  them  write  orations  and  other 
literary  forms,  but  he  apparently  had  little  expertness  in  helping  the 
students  to  speak  with  vocal  perfection.  "I  am  inclined  to  consider 
rhetoric  when  reduced  to  a  system  in  books,  as  a  body  of  rules  derived 
from  experience  and  observation,  extending  to  all  communication  by 
language  and  designed  to  make  it  efficient,"  Channing  observed  in  his 
lectures  to  the  students.  "It  does  not  ask  whether  a  man  is  to  be  a 
speaker  or  writer,-a  poet,  philosopher,  or  debater;  but  simply ,— is  it  his 
wish  to  be  put  in  the  right  way  of  communicating  his  mind  with  power 
to  others,  by  words  spoken  or  written." 43  Like  his  predecessors  John 
Quincy  Adams,  and  Joseph  McKean,  Channing  leaned  heavily  upon  the 
ancients.  Precepts  for  voice  training  and  elocutionary  skill  had  not  been 
detailed  by  the  ancients,  and  Channing  did  not  supply  the  deficiency 
to  any  great  extent44 

Rhetorical  and  elocutionary  training  in  the  first  quarter  of  the  nine- 
teenth century  was  built  upon  the  habits  of  disputation  and  declama- 
tion prominent  the  century  before.  But  there  were  two  notable  expan- 
sions. One  came  in  the  establishment  of  chairs  of  rhetoric,  giving  to  the 
field  a  status  in  the  curriculum.  The  other  change  was  the  attention 
given  to  developing  the  literary  background  of  the  orator  with  the  pur- 
pose of  making  htm  more  perspicuous  and  more  perspicacious.  But 


deficiencies  in  platform  skill,  in  management  of  the  voice  and  in  general 
delivery,  were  apparent.  In  the  next  quarter  century,  training  in  voice 
and  general  elocutionary  skills  were  accentuated  to  remedy  the  defects, 



"The  tongue  or  voyce  is  praise-worthie  . . .,"  thought  a  contributor  to 
the  New  England  Magazine  in  1832,  as  he  voiced  his  complaint  against 
the  delivery  of  preachers  and  public  men,  urging  that  the  colleges  take 
notice.  "It  is  but  recently  that  they  have  given  much  attention  to  the 
subject  of  Eloquence,  or  elocution,  as  a  science  to  be  taught,"  he  ob- 
served. "But  the  day  is  coming,  and  even  now  is,  when  a  different 
course  must  be  adopted.  A  taste  for  polite  literature  and  the  fine  arts 
is  becoming  too  general  among  the  population  of  the  country  to  allow 
the  colleges  to  send  forth  their  annual  hosts  of  graduates  for  the  pulpits 
and  the  forum,  untaught  in  the  most  important  accomplishment  of  a 
public  man,  without  severe  rebuke.  Yale  has  already  done  something 
for  improvement  in  the  art  of  speaking;  and  Harvard,— good  old  dull 
and  sleepy  matron,  is  just  awaking,  and  rubbing  her  eyes,  and  perceives 
the  necessity  of  doing  a  little  to  stop  the  public  clamor,  and  shield  her 
alumni  from  the  reproaches  of  common  school-boys."  45  Complaints 
about  the  poor  rendition  of  orations,  debates,  and  disputations  at  exhibi- 
tions and  commencements  had  been  frequent  for  many  years.  People 
were  sometimes  amused  at  the  "seeming  torture"  to  which  the  human 
body  could  be  put  "without  stretching  it  on  the  rack," 4G  and  oc- 
casionally reported  on  delivery  that  "would  have  done  honor  to  an 
Aboriginal  Sachem. . . ."  4T  As  manners  in  general  became  more  re- 
fined, more  and  more  pressure  was  put  upon  the  schools  to  pay  atten- 
tion to  the  rendition  of  orations,  debates,  and  declamations.  Improved 
taste  in  composition  was  not  enough.  Then,  too,  a  dying  Calvinism  was 
seeking  to  regain  its  losses  by  invigorating  its  preaching,  and  called 
upon  the  schools  to  aid  in  this  task.  "I  must  say  I  have  been  troubled  at 
the  complaints  which  have  been  made  at  the  want  of  animation  of  the 
Andover  students,  and  of  the  impression  beginning  to  be  made  in  favor 
of  Princeton,"  wrote  the  Reverend  Lyman  Beecher  to  authorities  at 
Andover,  training  ground  for  Calvinists  after  Harvard's  adoption  of 
Unitarianism.  "I  say,  therefore,  that  you  must  remedy  the  defect,  so  far 
as  it  is  positive.  Your  preachers  must  wake  up,  and  lift  up  their  voice. 
They  must  get  their  mouths  open,  and  their  lungs  in  vehement  action, 
there  in  your  little  chapel,  and,  if  need  be,  start  the  glass,  and  heave  the 
swelling  sides,  and  tear  passion  to  a  tatters."  4S 

The  criticism  of  the  public  performances  of  clergymen,  lawyers,  and 


men  in  public  affairs,  that  now  went  on  in  America,  had  its  counterpart 
in  England  a  generation  before.  There  the  fifth  of  the  classical  canons 
of  rhetoric  had  been  isolated  for  special  attention  in  the  last  half  of  the 
eighteenth  century.  A  flood  of  essays  and  books  on  elocution  had  ensued. 
The  elocutionary  writings  of  Thomas  Sheridan,  James  Burgh,  John 
Walker,  Joshua  Steele,  and  Gilbert  Austin  were  exported  to  America, 
were  available  in  libraries,  and  were  sometimes  consulted  by  students 
in  preparation  of  their  declamations.  By  1824,  the  Reverend  Ebenezer 
Porter,  who  became  Bartlett  Professor  of  Pulpit  Eloquence  at  Andover 
in  1811,  published  his  own  text,  Lectures  on  the  Analysis  of  Vocal  In- 
flection, one  of  the  earliest  American  discussions  of  vocal  delivery.  In 
1827,  he  published  An  Analysis  of  the  Principle  of  Rhetorical  Delivery, 
and  in  1831,  his  Rhetorical  Reader,  a  practical  textbook,  the  popularity 
of  which  is  reflected  in  the  fact  that  by  1858  it  reached  its  three  hun- 
dredth printing. 

Gradually  elocutionary  training  became  separated  from  rhetorical 
training.  By  1828,  colleges  such  as  Colby,  Middlebury,  South  Carolina, 
and  Yale,  in  assigning  Richard  Whately's  Rhetoric  specified  "except 
Part  IV,"  49  the  section  which  dealt  with  "Elocution,  or  Delivery."  Such 
an  exclusion  suggests  that  elocutionary  training  was  being  thought  of 
as  a  separate  discipline.  About  1823,  Jonathan  B arbour,  a  disciple  of 
the  English  writer,  Joshua  Steele,  author  of  Prosodia  Rationalis,  came 
to  America.50  By  1830,  he  was  at  least  unofficially  connected  with  Yale, 
and  offering  elocutionary  training,  as  the  title  of  his  book  published  in 
1830  indicates:  A  Grammar  of  Elocution:  Containing  the  Principles  of 
the  Arts  of  Reading  and  Speaking:  Illustrated  by  Appropriate  Exercises 
and  Examples,  Adapted  to  Colleges,  Schools,  and  Private  Instruction: 
The  Whole  Arranged  in  the  Order  in  Which  It  is  Taught  in  "Yale  Col- 
lege.^  The  separation  of  rhetoric  and  elocution  is  clearly  manifested  in 
1830  with  the  official  appointment  of  Erasmus  D.  North  as  Instructor 
in  Elocution  at  Yale.52  Jonathan  Barbour  was  hired  by  Harvard 
University  in  1830  to  supplement  the  work  in  rhetoric  by  giving  spe- 
cial attention  to  elocution,  being  the  "first  professedly  scientific  teacher 
of  elocution  employed  in  Harvard  College/'53  Barbour  lost  little  time 
after  coming  to  America  in  associating  himself  with  American  physi- 
cians, one  of  whom  was  James  Rush  who,  in  1827,  published  The 
Philosophy  of  the  Human  Voice.54  The  book,  intended  for  physicians, 
found  its  place  among  persons  who  had  become  increasingly  interested 
in  the  special  problems  of  the  voice  and  in  vocal  presentation.  Barbour 
was  among  those,  having  become  acquainted  with  the  contents  of  the 
book  even  before  it  was  published.55 

Wendell  Phillips,  eminent  American  orator,  was  a  student  of  Barbour 
at  Harvard  and  found  his  system  "the  best  ever  offered  to  any  student/* 


Based  on  Rush,  the  system  was  "at  once  philosophically  sound  and  emi- 
nently practical."  Barbour's  reliance  "on  principle,  and  comparative 
disuse  of  technical  rules,  seem  to  me  a  great  advantage  over  all  other 
systems  with  which  I  am  acquainted."  56  But  Phillips  did  not  speak  for 
the  majority;  student  ridicule  caused  Barbour  to  resign  his  Harvard 
post  by  1835.57  Among  devices  unpleasant  to  students  was  his  bamboo- 
slatted  sphere  which  fitted  over  the  practicing  speaker,  and  enabled 
him  to  acquire  with  finesse  all  the  gradations  of  gesture  through  360°. 
Although  elocution  was  late  in  developing  in  America,  it  became  a  re- 
quired study  in  most  colleges,  and  remained  so  until  late  in  the  century, 
when  it  became  generally  elective.  And  although  early  elocution  closely 
followed  English  writers  of  the  eighteenth  century,  after  1827  James 
Rush  became  the  dominant  influence,  and  remained  influential  through 
the  century.  James  Murdoch,  for  example,  was  a  devoted  student  of 
Rush.  "I  have  labored,"  Murdoch  wrote  late  in  his  career,  "to  simplify 
and  make  practical  Dr.  Rush's  Philosophy  of  the  Voice."  5S  Murdoch 
taught  Robert  Fulton  and  Thomas  Trueblood,  eminent  elocutionists  at 
the  end  of  the  century.  They  dedicated  their  book,  Practical  Elements 
of  Elocution,5*  to  Murdoch,  "whose  life  and  work  have  been  an  abiding 
source  of  inspiration." 

What  has  been  said  of  the  elocutionary  movement  in  England  during 
the  eighteenth  century  may  be  said  of  the  concern  with  delivery  in 
America  during  the  nineteenth  century:  "In  methodology,  it  was  char- 
acterized by  the  systematic  ordering  of  certain  observed  phenomena  of 
voice,  body,  and  language,  and  by  the  invention  and  use  of  systems  of 
notation  to  represent  these  phenomena.  In  philosophy,  it  was  character- 
ized by  a  mechanistic  interpretation  of  the  laws  of  nature.  Elocution,  in 
short,  was  a  'scientific'  subject."  60  In  the  concern  with  the  fifth  canon 
of  classical  rhetoric,  "a  new  ordering  of  an  old  subject"  61  took  place.  As 
the  century  advanced  elocutionary  training  became  the  vogue  and  then 
the  standard  pattern. 

In  less  spectacular  fashion,  the  older  training  in  the  rhetorical  canons 
other  than  delivery,  continued.  At  Yale,  for  instance,  while  Erasmus 
North  occupied  himself  with  elocution,  Chauncey  Goodrich,  appointed 
to  the  Professorship  of  Rhetoric  in  1817,  continued  to  pursue  the  older 
tradition:  "The  Sophomores  were  instructed  by  him,  through  the  sum- 
mer term,  in  Jamieson's  Rhetoric.  The  Senior  Classes  were  taught  out 
of  a  text-book  of  higher  Rhetoric  and  Criticism,  and  read  Compositions 
before  him  which  were  afterwards  criticized  in  private. . . .  The  impor- 
tance of  his  instruction  to  the  Seniors  meanwhile  was  increased  by  the 
study  of  Demosthenes  on  the  Grown,  as  the  chef  d'oeuvre  of  ancient 
eloquence,  and  by  a  very  interesting  course  of  lectures  on  English  ora- 
tory  "  62  Goodrich  had  as  his  object,  as  he  explains  in  his  preface  to 


Select  British  Eloquence,  "to  awaken  in  the  minds  of  the  class  that  love 
of  genuine  eloquence  which  is  the  surest  pledge  of  success"  and  "to 
initiate  the  pupil  in  those  higher  principles  which .  . .  have  always 
guided  the  great  masters  of  the  art. ..."  G3  At  Columbia  "the  declama- 
tions of  the  juniors  and  seniors  were  their  own  original  compositions, 
and  those  of  the  freshmen  and  sophomores  selected  pieces."  64  At  Wil- 
liams, Mark  Hopkins,  having  become  president  in  1836,  carried  on  with 
traditional  rhetorical  training.65  At  Amherst,  the  old  tradition  was 
carried  on  under  a  grant  for  the  endowment  of  a  professorship  of  rheto- 
ric and  oratory  as  early  as  1823. GS  At  Bowdoin,  Samuel  Philipp  New- 
man, elected  in  1824  to  the  first  professorship  of  rhetoric  and  oratory,  in 
1830  introduced  his  own  textbook,  A  Practical  System  of  Rhetoric,  or 
the  Principles  and  Rules  of  Style,  following  the  older  tradition.  Out  of 
this  book,  such  men  as  Henry  Wadsworth  Longfellow,  Nathaniel 
Hawthorne,  Sargent  Prentiss,  and  Franklin  Pierce  received  their  early 

Whereas  classical  study  of  rhetoric  continued,  it  was  to  some  extent 
affected  both  by  the  increased  emphasis  on  delivery  and  by  its  separa- 
tion from  the  classics  as  a  discipline  in  its  own  right.  Separate  profes- 
sorships meant  the  creation  of  a  gulf  between  the  classics  and  rhetoric, 
heretofore  allied  very  closely.  At  Columbia  in  1833,  the  professor  of 
rhetoric,  John  McVickar,  felt  handicapped  by  no  longer  having  control 
of  materials  for  study  in  the  classics.  He  was  not  satisfied  with  the 
materials  being  taught  by  the  professor  of  classics  since  these  materials 
did  not  furnish  adequate  basis  for  rhetorical  training.  "The  professor 
would  here  respectfully  suggest  that  it  would  greatly  add  to  the  stu- 
dent's ability  to  pursue  this  course  [rhetoric],  were  the  ancient  Rheto- 
ricians &  critical  writers  read  contemporaneously  or  rather  previously 
in  the  classical  course.  Thus,  the  present  Junior  class  knows  nothing  of 
Cicero's  IDe  Oratore,'  Horace's  cArs  Poetica'— to  all  of  which  constant 
reference  must  be  made— and  an  acquaintance  with  Longinus  only  so 
far  as  their  present  reading  has  carried  them."  6S  In  addition  to  the 
changes  brought  about  by  the  elocutionary  movement  and  by  the  lesser 
support  from  the  classics,  rhetorical  training  became  increasingly  linked 
with  belletristic  study.  As  has  been  found,  in  terms  of  departmental 
organization,  <eby  1850  the  grouping  was  not  so  frequently  'Rhetoric  and 
Oratory'  as  "Rhetoric  and  Belles  Lettres,'  or  'Rhetoric  and  composition/ 
with  delivery  now  relegated  to  the  tremendously  popular  "Elocu- 

As  new  colleges  began  to  spring  up  throughout  the  country,  they 
modeled  their  courses  of  study  on  that  of  the  older  institutions.  Illinois 
College,  founded  by  Yale  missionaries  in  1829,  specified  in  its  laws: 
"The  Professor  of  Rhetoric  shall  instruct  in  the  Critical  and  Rhetorical 


study  of  Portions  of  the  Latin  and  Greek  orators  and  poets,  and  also  in 
Composition,  Translation  and  Declamation,"  70  By  1833,  it  had  already 
stated:  "The  students  will  also  receive  instruction  in  the  science  of  elo- 
cution. . . ." 71  And  Herbert  E.  Rhae  has  found  that  the  "history  of 
speech  education  in  Indiana  colleges  followed  the  pattern  set  by  east- 
ern higher  institutions.  This  is  particularly  true  in  the  weekly  memorized 
declamations  among  Freshmen  and  Sophomores.  There  was  also  a  simi- 
larity in  the  continuity  of  the  original  orations  and  disputations  for 
Juniors  and  Seniors  with  the  practice  in  the  East."  72 

During  the  second  quarter  of  the  century  the  classical  tradition  in 
rhetoric  endured  and  in  many  places  was  expanded.  But  the  innova- 
tions, and  the  greatest  expansions,  occurred  in  systems  of  elocution, 
with  special  attention  to  voice  and  gesture. 



To  Henry  Adams,  a  college  student  of  the  1850's,  being  Class  Day 
orator  was  "political  as  well  as  literary  success."  73  "If  Harvard  College 
gave  nothing  else,"  he  thought,  "it  gave  calm.  For  four  years  each  stu- 
dent had  been  obliged  to  figure  daily  before  dozens  of  young  men  who 
knew  each  other  to  the  last  fibre.  One  had  done  little  but  read  papers 
to  Societies,  or  act  comedy  in  the  Hasty  Pudding,  not  to  speak  of  all 
sorts  of  regular  exercises,  and  no  audience  in  future  life  would  ever  be 
so  intimately  and  terribly  intelligent  as  these."  74  Uncertain  as  to 
whether  he  was  getting  an  "education,"  in  one  respect  at  least,  he  was 
aware  that  the  American  university  was  doing  something  for  its  students 
that  the  European  university  was  not.  "Three-fourths  of  the  graduates 
would  rather  have  addressed  the  Council  of  Trent  or  the  British  Parlia- 
ment than  have  acted  Sir  Anthony  Absolute  or  Dr.  Ollapod  before  a 
gala  audience  of  the  Hasty  Pudding,"  75  and  "nothing  seemed  stranger" 
to  the  American  college  graduate  than  the  "paroxysms  of  terror  before 
the  public  which  often  overcame  the  graduates  of  European  Univer- 
sities." 76  Adams  was  "ready  to  stand  up  before  any  audience  in  America 
or  Europe,  with  nerves  rather  steadier  for  the  excitement,"  but  "whether 
he  should  ever  have  anything  to  say,  remained  to  be  proved."  77 

If  Henry  Adams  questioned  whether  he  was  receiving  an  education, 
even  so  did  college  administrators.  The  narrower  curriculum  of  an 
earlier  day  was  to  expand  with  a  country  expanding  in  interest  and 
activity.  Although  rhetorical  training  was  to  continue,  more  and  more 
it  was  to  give  way  to  literature  and  criticism.  Whereas  the  class  orator 
could  still  believe  himself  to  ha^ve  achieved  "political  as  well  as  literary 
success,"  he  was  more  and  more  to  share  the  rostrum  with  the  poet,  the 


essayist,  and  the  editor  of  the  college  magazine.  Henry  Adams  himself 
sought  proficiency  not  only  in  oratory,  but  contributed  to  the  college 
magazine  and  acquired  enthusiasm  for  literature  through  private  lit- 
erary study  with  Lowell. 

Surveying  the  decade  prior  to  the  mid-century  for  evidences  of  train- 
ing in  rhetoric  and  oratory,  Coulton  on  examining  the  departmental 
organization  of  fifty-six  colleges  and  universities  observes  that  "Moral 
Science  and  Belles  Lettres"  had  disappeared  and  there  has  been  added 
in  this  period  "English  Literature,"  "English/'  and  "Philosophy  and 
Belles  Lettres."  78  By  the  decade  of  1870  and  1880,  departmental  organ- 
ization continues  with  "English  clearly  predominating /' 79  According 
to  Samuel  Eliot  Morison,  the  advance  of  English  as  a  special  field  which 
was  eventually  to  encompass  rhetorical  training  in  many  places  was  "in 
the  nature  of  peaceful  penetration/' 80  The  delay  in  getting  started  was 
due  "not  to  opposition/'  but  to  a  "general  failure  to  see  in  it  anything 
more  than  a  minor  element  in  the  preparation  for  the  ministry."  81  As 
late  as  the  sixties  at  Harvard  "English  meant  elocution  and  rheto- 
ric. .  .  ,82  In  1858  and  1859,  "the  Freshmen  had  Lessons  in  Orthoepy  and 
Lessons  in  Expression;  the  Sophomores,  Lessons  in  Expression,  Lessons 
in  Action,  Themes;  the  Juniors,  Themes,  Declamation,  Rhetoric;  the 
Seniors,  Forensics;  nothing  more."  S3  The  gradual  shift  to  an  emphasis 
on  English  literature  was  given  impetus  by  Francis  J.  Child  who  suc- 
ceeded Channing  in  the  Chan:  of  Rhetoric  and  Oratory,  for  it  was  he 
who  "first  saw  the  possibilities  of  English  as  a  factor  in  general  scholar- 
ship." 84  Almost  immediately  after  Child's  succession,  a  "course  of 
twelve  Lectures  was  given  to  the  Senior  Class,  on  the  English  lan- 
guage." S5  Instruction  was  given  in  the  second  term  of  the  Senior  year 
to  "small  voluntary  classes,  in  Anglo  Saxon,  and  the  rudiments  of  Ice- 
landic/' 86  In  1853,  during  the  first  term  of  the  Senior  class,  students 
attended  Lectures  on  the  English  language,  and  afterwards  read  selec- 
tions from  Chaucer's  Canterbury  Tales.87  By  1876  Child  had  become 
"Professor  of  English." 

During  the  period  from  1850  to  1875,  Elocution  was  a  required  sub- 
ject in  many  colleges  throughout  the  country.  However,  with  pressure 
from  an  expanded  curriculum,  its  value  as  a  required  subject  was  ques- 
tioned. This  was  a  period  of  vast  expansion  for  the  colleges.  New  fields 
of  study  were  added  as  the  country  became  increasingly  rich,  indus- 
trious, and  populous.  Columbia  founded  its  school  of  mines  in  1864; 88 
California  by  1870  had  colleges  of  Agriculture,  Mechanical  Arts,  Mines, 
and  Civil  Engineering  in  addition  to  the  original  Arts  college.89  The 
elective  system  of  studies  was  greatly  expanded  to  meet  this  pressure. 
Having  been  in  practice  to  some  extent  since  about  1820  at  the  Univer- 
sity of  Virginia,90  it  advanced  rapidly  after  it  was  given  new  impetus 


by  Harvard's  president  Charles  Eliot  after  1869.  The  wisdom  of  re- 
quiring elocution  was  questioned.  In  1873,  at  Harvard,  elocution  was 
dropped  to  elective  status.91  The  reason  may  be  found  in  an  observa- 
tion of  James  Murdoch.  Commenting  on  the  value  of  elocution  as  it 
was  taught  in  the  seventies  and  early  eighties,  Murdoch  observes:  "Elo- 
cution, as  taught  at  present,  is,  in  most  cases,  considered  and  treated  in 
theory  and  practice  as  little  more  than  an  imitative  art,  and  as  such 
yields  its  rightful  position  of  honor  and  dignity  as  a  branch  of  study 
based  upon  philosophic  or  scientific  principles."  92  In  1875,  Allegheny 
College  showed  unrest  with  a  program  of  elocutionary  training  by  call- 
ing attention  to  the  virtues  of  the  system  of  speech  training  recom- 
mended by  Professor  Nathan  Sheppard,  a  visiting  professor  from 
Scotland  who  was  giving  a  course  of  lectures  in  which  there  "is  no 
attempt  to  teach  'elocution'  or  any  artificial  system,  nor  is  public  speak- 
ing confounded  with  recitation,  declamation,  or  dramatic  reading." 
Allegheny  chose  to  "incorporate  practically—especially  in  the  advanced 
classes— the  suggestions  and  directions  of  Prof.  Sheppard  in  the  instruc- 
tions of  this  department."  93  Even  as  early  as  1861,  Columbia  readily 
yielded  up  John  H.  Siddons,  instructor  in  elocution,  in  order  to  avoid 
a  budgetary  deficit,  and  made  no  appointment  thereafter.94 

Meanwhile,  a  traditionally  classical  approach  to  rhetoric  continued. 
Such  textbooks  as  George  Campbell's  Philosophy  of  Rhetoric,  Blair's 
Lectures  on  Rhetoric  and  Belles  Lettres,  and  Richard  Whately's  Rheto- 
ric were  still  used.  More  often,  however,  textbooks  to  some  extent  based 
on  the  principles  of  the  English  rhetorics  but  written  by  American 
teachers  were  used.  Henry  N.  Day's  Elements  of  the  Art  of  Rhetoric, 
published  in  1850  and  later  issued  in  1867  as  The  Art  of  Discourse  be- 
came popular.  Adapted  to  American  needs,  Day's  treatises  nevertheless 
were  classical.  Like  Blair,  Day  treated  discourse  other  than  oratory, 
but  oratory  remained  the  highest  form  of  art.  In  his  view  oratory  was 
discourse  for  the  purpose  of  effect;  poetry  was  discourse  for  the  purpose 
of  form;  and  history  and  treatises  were  discourse  for  the  purpose  of 
subject  matter.  Other  textbooks  by  Americans  gained  prominence,  such 
as  that  of  G.  P.  Quackenbos,  Advanced  Course  of  Composition  and 

One  need  only  look  at  the  program  of  the  University  of  California 
in  the  early  seventies  to  realize  that  the  classical  traditions  were  being 
fully  maintained.  Fortnightly  themes  and  forensics  were  required  dur- 
ing the  first,  second,  and  third  years,  with  theoretical  study  of  rhetoric 
confined  to  the  third  year.  Whately's  Rhetoric  was  used  as  a  textbook, 
supplemented  by  Cope's  Introduction  to  Aristotle's  Rhetoric,  Blair's 
Lectures  on  Rhetoric  and  Belles  Lettres,  and  Campbell's  Philosophy  of 
Rhetoric.95  At  Illinois  College  in  the  mid-west,  Sophomores  studied 


Cicero's  De  Oratore  for  one  half  year;  Juniors  studied  Day's  Rhetoric 
and  Seniors  studied  Demosthenes'  "On  the  Crown."  96  Students  had 
optional  work  in  Quintilian's  Institutes  of  Oratory  and  in  the  study  of 
selections  from  English  and  American  orators.97  At  Hamilton  College, 
Anson  Judd  Upson  and  Henry  Allen  Fink  were  strengthening  traditions 
begun  at  the  founding  of  the  college.  The  1843  rules  governing  "rhetori- 
cals"  sent  all  students  to  the  Chapel  during  the  next  forty  years  to  attend 
public  exercises  of  "declamations,  select  translations  from  the  classics, 
the  original  essays  and  orations."  On  Wednesday  noon  of  each  week 
"four  freshmen,  four  sophomores,  and  four  juniors  gave  declamations 
before  the  assembled  college;  on  Saturday  noon  of  each  week  two  from 
each  lower  class  read  essays,  two  juniors  presented  discussions,  and  two 
seniors  gave  orations/' 9S  Between  1854  and  1866  prize  contests  were 
established  in  both  original  oratory  and  extemporaneous  debate.  "No 
effort  was  spared  by  the  instructor  to  bring  out  the  characteristic 
powers  of  each  speaker  and  to  ready  him  for  the  best  performance  of 
which  he  was  capable."  99  Although  the  Literary  Societies  at  Hamilton 
had  begun  to  decline  about  1850,100  a  systematic  training  program  in 
speaking  continued  to  be  very  strong.  The  oration  was  considered  to 
be  an  instrument  of  power  and  public  service.  In  1876,  the  Hamilton 
College  orator,  participating  in  one  of  the  earliest  intercollegiate  ora- 
torical contests,  spoke  before  such  distinguished  judges  as  William 
Cullen  Bryant,  Whitelaw  Reid,  and  George  William  Curtis  on  the  sub- 
ject  "The  Heroic  Element  in  Modern  Life"  at  the  New  York  Academy 
of  Music  and  won  the  prize  of  the  day.  Thereafter  intercollegiate  ora- 
torical contests  sprang  up  all  over  the  country,  serving  to  revitalize 
interest  in  public  speaking.101 

In  the  third  quarter  of  the  century,  elocution  lost  position  as  a  re- 
quired subject,  lout  continued  as  an  elective.  Rhetorical  training  per- 
severed but  it  was  modified  in  the  direction  of  belles  lettres,  and  fre- 
quently was  identified  with  departments  of  English.  The  ever-enduring 
urge  for  platform  expression  found  a  new  outlet  in  intercollegiate  ora- 
torical contests. 


Bliss  Perry  was  a  student  at  Williams  in  the  early  part  of  the  last 
quarter  of  the  nineteenth  century,  with  an  "interest  in  speaking,  writing, 
and  miscellaneous  reading."  102  It  was  "curious,"  he  thought,  that  he 
could  recall  "so  little"  about  his  class  work  in  English.103  He  was  obliged 
to  write  and  deliver  orations  once  or  twice  a  year  under  the  supervision 
of  the  Professor  of  Rhetoric,  Llewellyn  Pratt,  who  gave  his  productions 
"as  much  attention  as  they  deserved,"  but  it  was  "very  little."  104  The 


rhetoric  text  was  that  of  D.  J.  Hill,  Science  of  Rhetoric.  But  if  he  re- 
ceived little  attention  from  his  rhetoric  instructor,  he  was  helped  to 
win  the  coveted  Graves  Prize  in  his  senior  year,  largely  through  the 
assistance  of  George  L.  Raymond,  who  gave  lessons  in  elocution  "part 
of  each  year."  105  "No  one  pays  much  attention  to  such  contests  now," 
observed  Perry,  "but  in  our  day  crowds  attended  them."  106  For  months 
he  toiled  away  among  the  moth-eaten  stuffed  moose  in  Jackson  Hall 
learning  Raymond's  "vocal  exercises,"  the  "trick  of  deep-breathing/' 
and  the  "proper  'placing'  of  the  voice"  from  lessons  in  The  Orators 

Before  the  century  was  over,  Perry  succeeded  Raymond  both  at 
Williams  and  at  Princeton.  During  his  own  years  of  service  as  a  teacher 
of  rhetoric  he  witnessed  the  decline  of  interest  in  oratory  in  the  Eastern 
colleges,  and  tried  to  "prop  up  for  a  while  a  building  that  was  doomed 
to  fall"  108  by  assisting  in  the  development  of  forensics,  a  form  of  speak- 
ing stimulated  by  the  organization  of  intercollegiate  debate  contests. 
In  the  nineties,  when  he  was  at  Princeton  he  journeyed  to  New  Haven 
and  Cambridge  to  help  organize  the  first  intercollegiate  debates  be- 
tween Yale,  Harvard,  and  Princeton;  and  for  some  years  they  "excited 
great  interest."  109  He  matched  his  wits  against  great  teachers  like 
Hadley  at  Yale  and  George  Pierce  Baker  at  Harvard  in  faculty  coaching 
of  debates. 

Perry's  experience  as  a  student  and  later  as  a  teacher  in  a  sense 
reflects  the  main  line  of  development  of  rhetorical  training  and  effort  in 
the  last  quarter  of  the  nineteenth  century*  Rhetoric  was  often  taught  in 
departments  of  English;  oratory  had  a  prominent  position  in  colleges 
throughout  the  country  but  was  losing  vogue  in  some  of  the  Eastern  col- 
leges; instruction  was  given  in  elocution  in  most  of  the  colleges  and 
was  looked  upon  as  an  aid  to  students  in  their  competitions  for  prizes 
in  oratory;  forensics  courses  were  introduced  into  the  college  curricu- 
lum in  order  to  meet  the  needs  of  organized  intercollegiate  debate 
and  faculty  coaching.  Students,  caught  up  in  the  enthusiasm  for  debate, 
argued  its  value  over  oratory.110  Now  and  then,  colleges  in  the  West 
voiced  the  opinion  that  it  was  to  be  their  duty  and  their  honor  to  keep 
both  oratoiy  and  debate  alive.  "Oratory  must  always  be  foremost," 
commented  the  Colorado  Class  of  '99,  "if  our  ambition  for  the  reputa- 
tion and  success  of  our  institution  is  to  be  satisfied;  eastern  college  men 
have  turned  their  attention  to  athletics  and  things  athletic  in  their 
nature,  and  it  is  for  western  colleges  and  universities  to  keep  alive 
the  interest  in  debate  and  oratory  if  we  would  have  power  and 
prosperity."  ll:L 

Debate  in  some  form  had  been  part  of  the  college  program  from  the 
beginning.  The  art  of  syllogizing  was  probably  the  earliest  forebear  of 


debate;  it  was  succeeded  in  the  eighteenth  century  by  forensic  dispu- 
tation, More  and  more,  disputations  grew  into  the  regular  classroom 
debate  or  the  argumentative  discourse.  Societies  had  begun  to  meet 
each  other  in  debate  early  in  the  nineteenth  century.  Finally,  in  the  last 
part  of  the  nineteenth  century,  more  ambitious  undertakings  were  afoot 
and  colleges  began  to  meet  each  other  in  formalized  debate.  The  curricu- 
lar  program  adjusted  itself  to  the  needs  of  students.  In  1885  Josiah 
Royce,  later  to  become  an  eminent  philosopher,  was  in  charge  of  "for- 
ensics"  at  Harvard,  or  work  in  argumentative  discourse.  By  1888-1889, 
the  Harvard  catalog  listed  Ten  Lectures  in  argumentative  composition 
or  oral  discussion  of  topics  in  political  economy  and  history  as  part  of 
its  curriculum.112  At  Boston  University  in  the  same  year,  Sophomores 
and  Juniors  had  vocal  and  forensic  training; 11S  Oberlin  in  1891-1892 
under  William  B.  Chamberlain,  offered  a  course  in  Forensic  Delivery, 
described  as  "Practical  studies  in  Argumentation  and  Oratory;  analy- 
sis of  models  with  reference  to  an  audience,  and  criticism  upon  the 
rendering  of  selected  and  original  speeches  and  debates."114  In  1893- 
1894,  Northwestern  offered  a  course  in  Forensics  in  which  "Questions 
are  announced  and  sides  are  taken  one  week  before  each  debate,  and 
references  are  given  on  the  Library  Bulletin  to  the  available  literature  on 
the  respective  questions." 115  Wisconsin  in  the  same  year,  under  Franken- 
burger,  had  a  course  in  Rhetoric  consisting  of  "Exercises  in  debates, 
essays,  orations,  with  personal  criticism."  An  advanced  course  in  the 
Philosophy  of  Rhetoric  consisted  of  "Analysis  of  great  orations,  essays, 
and  debates,  with  higher  rhetorical  and  literary  criticism."  116  Oregon  in 
1896-1897  offered  two  courses  in  Forensics  and  Orations,  using  Baker's 
Specimens  of  Argumentation  as  a  textbook.117  By  the  end  of  the  cen- 
tury, California  had  four  courses  in  Argumentation  and  Debate.  They 
were  devoted  to  preparation  of  briefs,  practice  in  debate,  oral  debate 
on  literary  topics  with  analysis  of  stylistic  features  of  argumentative 
discourse,  and  studies  in  masterpieces  of  argumentation.  In  addition,  a 
course  in  Greek  was  devoted  to  a  study  of  Plato's  Gorgias  with  special 
reference  to  the  Socratic  method  of  argumentation.118  Alabama  had  in 
1898  as  part  of  the  English  course,  training  in  argumentative  dis- 
course.119 Michigan  in  1899  had  a  course  in  Oral  Discussion  which  con- 
sisted of  "application  of  the  principles  of  formal  logic  and  elocution  in 
debating  leading  questions  of  the  day,"  and  preparation  of  briefs.  This 
course  was  designed  to  "develop  readiness  of  extemporization  and  is 
recommended  to  those  who  desire  to  enter  the  inter-collegiate  de- 
bates." 12°  And  the  University  of  Illinois  offered  in  the  department  of 
Rhetoric  and  Oratory,  a  course  in  Oral  Discussion,  emphasizing  data 
for  discussion,  with  oral  debates  and  attention  to  delivery.121 
These  are  typical  of  the  programs  of  training  common  throughout 


the  country.  Coaches  and  students  alike  were  learning  the  art  of  for- 
malized debate,  and  usually  using  as  a  basic  text  George  Pierce  Baker's 
Specimens  of  Argumentation  or  his  Principles  of  Argumentation.,  or 
both.  But  the  programs  were  a  culmination  of  movements  in  the  cen- 
tury. Half  of  the  material  in  Baker's  Specimens  was  taken  from  Good- 
rich, even  to  the  notes.  Students  at  the  end  of  the  century  were  apply- 
ing the  method  of  rhetorical  criticism  Goodrich  had  illustrated  so 
thoroughly  at  mid-century. 

Meanwhile,  in  this  last  quarter  of  the  nineteenth  century  new  devel- 
opments took  place  in  the  handling  of  elocutionary  training  and  in  the 
formalization  of  speech  programs.  Itinerant  teachers  of  elocution  were 
gradually  affixing  themselves  to  colleges  as  part  of  a  curriculum  which 
was  becoming  more  stabilized.  In  1877  when  William  Jennings  Bryan 
was  a  student  at  Illinois  College,  S.  S.  Hammill  was  instructing  in  elo- 
cution for  part  of  the  year.  According  to  Bryan,  'lie  rather  leaned  to 
the  dramatic  and  recommended  dramatic  pieces  to  us.  I  rather  pre- 
ferred the  oratorical  style. . . .  He  trained  us  in  modulation  of  the  voice, 
gesticulation,  etc.,  and  I  presume  that  his  instructions  were  beneficial 
to  me,  although  I  have  been  so  much  more  interested  in  the  subject 
matter  than  in  the  form  of  presentation  that  my  use  of  his  advice  has 
been  unconscious  rather  than  intentional."  122  In  the  summer  session  of 
1878  Hammill  attracted  two  students  who  were  to  carry  on  his  work 
and  to  establish  departments  and  schools  of  oratory  in  two  leading  uni- 
versities. The  two  students  were  Thomas  C.  Trueblood  and  Robert  I. 
Fulton  who,  after  additional  training  with  James  Murdoch,  established 
elocutionary  training  at  the  University  of  Michigan  and  at  Ohio  Wes- 
leyan  University,  in  a  more  formal  way  than  it  had  been  taught  in  many 
schools.  Elocutionary  training  never  died  out  of  the  college  curriculum. 
After  the  elective  system  had  come  into  use  on  a  large  scale,  elocu- 
tionary training  was  often  elective;  at  other  places  it  was  required  but 
not  accredited  for  graduation.  At  Michigan  in  1892,  Trueblood  was 
made  Professor  of  Elocution  and  launched  a  formalized  program  of 
speech  training  with  full  college  credit  attached.123 

In  the  latter  part  of  the  nineteenth  century,  the  principles  of  elocu- 
tionary training  which  had  been  based  on  Rush  124  were  supplemented 
by  a  stream  of  thought  deriving  from  the  French  music  teacher  and 
actor,  Delsarte.  Thus  the  physiological  theories  of  Rush  were  united 
with  aesthetic  theories.  College  catalogs  occasionally  refer  to  the  nature 
of  the  elocutionary  training.  Oregon  offered  at  the  end  of  the  century 
numerous  courses  in  elocution,  indicating  that  "General  Principles  of 
Delsarte  and  Mackaye"  125  were  used.  At  Michigan,  "the  Rush  and  Del- 
sarte philosophies"  126  were  taught.  At  Colorado,  the  instructor  in  ora- 
tory, W.  H.  Goodall,  was  an  "enthusiastic  admirer  of  Delsarte " 127 


Enthusiasm  for  the  Delsarte  theory  of  elocution  sometimes  meant  em- 
phasis on  physical  culture;  at  Colorado,  W.  H.  Goodall  was  "proficient 
in  elocution,  gesture  work  and  physical  culture."  At  the  University  of 
Illinois  in  1895,  an  instructor  in  Elocution  and  in  Physical  Culture  for 
Women  gave  courses  in  Oral  Rhetoric,  including  work  in  breathing  and 
modulation,  and  practiced  "the  Delsarte  Culture."  12S  At  Huron  College 
at  the  end  of  the  century  Elbert  R.  Moses  was  listed  as  Director  of  a 
"Department  of  Oratory  and  Physical  Culture."  Exercises  in  club  swing- 
ing, fencing,  walking,  and  calisthenics  were  part  of  the  program.129 

At  the  time  that  Fulton  and  Trueblood  were  preparing  for  a  life  of 
teaching,  Samuel  Silas  Curry  was  a  student  at  Boston  University,  where 
Lewis  B.  Monroe,  a  student  of  Delsarte,  was  in  charge  of  the  School  of 
Oratory.  In  1879,  when  Monroe  died,  Curry  succeeded  to  the  position 
of  director  of  oratorical  training.  Stimulated  in  part  by  Delsarte's 
theories  deriving  from  Monroe,  in  part  by  Alexander  Graham  Bell's 
lectures  on  the  science  of  the  voice,  and  by  numerous  other  influences 
both  American  and  foreign,  Curry  became  eclectic  in  his  theories  and 
teaching.  Disturbed  by  mechanical  and  imitative  practices,  Curry  for- 
mulated his  own  theories,  and  in  1891  published  Province  of  Expression,, 
stressing  the  need  for  mental  training  as  a  basis  for  effective  delivery. 
Toward  the  end  of  the  century  Curry's  theories  were  gaining  wide  cur- 
rency in  the  schools. 

Classical  traditions  went  on  in  the  last  part  of  the  nineteenth  century, 
but  more  and  more  the  concern  in  departments  of  English  was  with 
forms  of  writing  other  than  oratory.  Whereas  the  theory  of  invention 
was  once  almost  exclusively  oriented  in  oratorical  discourse,  more  and 
more  the  orientation  became  that  of  prose  composition  generally.  Books 
such  as  those  of  Quackenbos'  Advanced  Course  in  Composition  and 
Rhetoric  and  John  Franklin  Genung's  The  Practical  Elements  of  Rheto- 
ric, and  Adams  Sherman  Hill's  The  Principles  of  Rhetoric  helped  to 
establish  new  categories  of  rhetoric:  narration,  description,  exposition, 
and  argumentation.130  In  the  last  decade  of  the  century,  courses  in 
public  speaking  were  established  and  differentiated  from  the  usual 
courses  in  rhetoric.  Oral  and  written  discourse  began  to  be  taught  sepa- 
rately. And  argumentation  became  almost  exclusively  the  concern  of 
public  speaking. 


In  his  survey  of  rhetorical  training  in  the  colleges  during  a  large  part 
of  the  nineteenth  century  and  the  early  part  of  the  twentieth  century, 
Thomas  Coulton  observed:  "We  seem  to  be  dealing,  then,  with  a 
discipline  which  came  to  no  sudden  awakening  after  a  period  of  neg- 
lect, but  one  which,  having  long  been  maintained  in  its  accustomed 


place,  was  lifted  on  the  tide  of  larger  public  interest  in  higher  educa- 
tion and  met  the  swell  of  this  tide  by  offering  more  semesters  of  work 
and  in  greater  variety.  Both  growth  and  adjustment  are  evidenced."  131 
The  consistent  line  of  instruction  throughout  the  century  was  classical 
rhetorical  training,  both  in  specialized  courses  and  in  supplementary 
programs  in  Greek  and  Latin.  John  Quincy  Adams  delivered  the  key- 
note for  the  age  when  he  eulogized  Aristotle  and  the  ancients.  In  the 
first  quarter  of  the  century  the  rambling  instruction  of  the  earlier  Cen- 
tury "was  systematized  and  ensconced  in  chairs  of  rhetoric.  And  the 
purposes  were  expanded  beyond  eighteenth-century  syllogizing  and 
disputing  to  include  general  training  to  make  the  orator  more  literate 
and  discerning.  But  Adams'  suggestion  that  little  could  be  added  to  the 
classical  tradition  was  never  accepted  fully.  In  the  second  quarter  of 
the  century,  particular  concern  was  .for  systems  of  elocution,  with  train- 
ing in  voice  and  bodily  gesture,  with  attempts  to  apply  "science  *  to  the 
field"  "of  speech.  In  the  third  quarter  of  the  century  speech  training 
became  linked  with  English  literature,  and  departments  of  English 
assumed  the  main  responsibility  for  training  in  rhetoric.  Interest  in 
elocution  diminished,  but  the  persistent  urge  of  students  to  find  artistic 
oral  expression  sought  an  outlet  in  intercollegiate  speaking  contests. 
In  tEeTast  quarter  of  the  century  courses  in  public  speaking  and  par- 
ticularly in  argumentation  and  forensic  forms,  became  established. 
SpeecTi  as  a  field— the  classical  rhetorical  tradition  combined  with  the 
newer  concerns  of  vocal  and  physical  training— became  established 
clearly  if  not  firmly.  The  base  was  supplied  for  the  detailed  structures 
which  were  to  be  erected  in  the  twentieth-century  Departments  of 


1.  Edward  T.  Charming,  "Inaugural  Discourse,  December  8,  1819"  (Cam- 
bridge, 1819),  p.  14. 

2.  Varnum  Lansing  Collins,  President  Wither  spoon    (Princeton,   1925),   I, 

3.  Denison  Olmsted,  "Timothy  D wight  as  a  Teacher,"  American  Journal  of 
Education,  V  (1858),  567-585. 

4.  Ibid. 

5.  Samuel  Eliot  Morison,  Three  Centuries  of  Harvard,  1636-1936  (Cambridge, 
1936),  p.  138. 

6.  Ibid. 

7.  Letter  of  Reverend  Andrew  Eliot  to  Thomas  Hollis,  quoted  by  Morison, 
p.  138. 

8.  Memoir  of  William  Ellery  Channing,  with  Extracts  from  his  Correspondence 
and  Manuscripts,  6th  ed.  (Boston,  1854),  I,  68. 

9.  Ibid.,  I,  69,  70. 

10.  Ibid.,  I,  60. 

11.  Letter  of  Arthur  Walter  to  William  Ellery  Channing,  April  1,  1803,  quoted 
in  Joseph  B.  Felt,  Memoirs  of  William  Smith  Shaw  (Boston,  1852),  pp.  167,  168. 


12.  Monthly  Anthology,  I  (December,  1803),  51. 

13.  Ibid.,  I,  62. 

14.  Letter  of  John  Quincy  Adams  to  his  brother,  August  7,  1809,  quoted  in 
Writings  of  John  Quincy  Adams,  ed.  Worthmgton  Chauncey  Ford  (New  York, 
1914),  III,  334. 

15.  Donald  M.  Goodfellow,  "The  First  Boylston  Professor  of  Rhetoric  and  Ora- 
tory/' New  England  Quarterly,  XIX  (September,  1946),  373,  374. 

16.  Ibid.,  pp.  372-389. 

17.  The  Diary  of  John  Quincy  Adams,  ed.  Allan  Nevins  (New  York,  1928) 
p.  42. 

18.  Goodfellow,  op.  cit.,  pp.  372-389;  Josiah  Quincy,  The  History  of  Harvard 
University  (Cambridge,  1840),  II,  214-215,  290-291,  324,  326,  Edward  Everett, 
"A  Eulogy  on  the  Life  and  Character  of  John  Quincy  Adams"  (Boston,  1848),  pp. 
33-35,  Samuel  Flagg  Bemis,  John  Quincy  Adams  and  the  Foundations  of  American 
Foreign  Policy  (New  York,  1949),  pp.  132-134. 

19.  "An  Inaugural  Oration,  Delivered  at  the  Author's  Installation  as  Boylston 
Professor  of  Rhetoric  and  Oratory,"  in  Lectures  on  Rhetoric  and  Oratoni  (Cam- 
bridge, 1810),  p.  26. 

20.  Charles  E.  Cuningham,  Timothy  Dwight  (New  York,  1942),  p.  239. 

21.  Autobiography,  Correspondence,  Etc.,  of  Lyman  Beecher,  D.  D.,  ed.  Charles 
Beecher  (New  York,  1865),  I,  48. 

22.  President  Dwight's  Decisions  of  Questions  Discussed  by  the  Senior  Class 
in  Yale  College,  in  1813  and  1814  [From  stenographic  notes  by  Theodore  Dwight] 
(New  York,  1833),  pp.  5,  6ff. 

23.  "Harvard  Commencement,"  Columbian  Centinel,  September  2,  1815,  p.  1, 
col.  4, 

24.  Warren  Guthrie,  "Development  of  Rhetorical  Theory  in  America,  1635- 
1850,"  Speech  Monographs,  XV  (1948),  70. 

25.  Morison,  op.  cit,  pp.  187  ff. 

26.  Van  Wyck  Brooks,  The  Flowering  of  New  England,  1815-1865,  new  and 
rev.  ed.  (New  York,  1937),  pp.  12 ff. 

27.  Letter  of  Dr.  Beecher  to  Dr.  Woods,  November  12,  1820,  quoted  in  Auto- 
biography,  Correspondence,  Etc.,  of  Lyman  Beecher,  D.  D.,  I,  436,  437. 

28.  "On  the  Relation  Between  the  Clergy  and  People,  and  some  Prevailing 
Misapprehensions  of  the  Ministry,"  Christian  Examiner,  II  ( January  &  February 
1825),  5,  6.  y 

29.  "Remarks  on  the  Character  and  Writings  of  Fenelon,"  in  The  Works  of 
William  Ellery  Channing,  llth  ed.  (Boston,  1849),  I,  167. 

30.  Letter  of  Channing  to  William  Smith  Shaw,  quoted  in  Memoir  of  William 
Ellery  Channing,  I,  99. 

31.  Guthrie,  op.  cit.,  62. 

32.  Hugh  Blair,  Lectures  on  Rhetoric  and  Belles  Lettres,  Lecture  1.  Numerous 
editions  of  Blair's  Lectures  have  appeared  since  the  Edinburgh  edition  of  1783; 
therefore,  references  to  specific  Lectures  are  more  meaningful  than  page  references 
and  shall  be  used  hereafter. 

33.  Robert  Morell  Schmitz,  Hugh  Blair  (New  York,  1948),  p.  1. 

34.  Ibid.,  p.  3.  ^ 

35.  Lecture  1. 

36.  Ibid. 

37.  Letter  of  the  Columbia  College  Professors  to  the  Trustees,  Feb.  20,  1809, 
quoted  in  Helen  P.  Roach,  History  of  Speech  Education  at  Columbia  College* 
1754-1940  (New  York,  1950),  p.  23. 

38.  Cf .  Anthony  F.  Blanks,  "An  Introductory  Study  in  the  History  of  the  Teach- 
ing of  Public  Speaking  in  the  United  States,"  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  Stan- 
ford, 1927;  Herbert  Edgar  Rahe,  "The  History  of  Speech  Education  in  Ten  Indiana 
Colleges,  1820-1938,"  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  Wisconsin,  1939.  Rahe  (p. 
384)  concludes,  "In  general,  we  may  concur  with  Blanks  that  the  early  history  of 


speech  education  in  the  East  tended  to  be  duplicated  in  later  colleges  in  the  Middle 

39.    William  Tudor,  Letters  on  the  Eastern  States  (Boston,  1821),  pp.  345,  346. 

40    Andrew  P.  Peabody,  Harvard  Reminiscences  (Boston,  1888),  p.  88. 

41.  Ibid.,  pp.  88,  89. 

42.  Brooks,  op.  cit.,  p.  43. 

43.  Edward  T.  Channing,  Lectures  Read  to  the  Seniors  in  Harvard  College 
(Boston,  1856),  p.  31. 

44.  See  Dorothy  I.  Anderson,  "Edward  T.  Channing's  Philosophy  and  Teaching 
of  Rhetoric/*  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  Iowa,  1944;  "Edward  T.  Channing's 
Definition  of  Rhetoric,"  SM,  XIV  (1947),  81-92;  "Edward  T.  Channing's  Teaching 
of  Rhetoric,"  SM,  XVI  (August,  1949),  69-81. 

45.  "Eloquence  and  Eloquent  Men,"  New-England  Magazine,  II  (February, 
1832),  93-100. 

46.  Life  and  Letters  of  Catharine  Sedgwick,  ed.  Mary  E.  Dewey  (New  York, 
1871),  p.  121. 

47.  Columbian  Centinel,  July  19,  1794,  p.  3. 

48.  Letter  of  Dr.  Beecher  to  Dr.  Leonard  Woods,  November  12,  1820,  quoted 
in  Autobiography,  Correspondence,  Etc.,  of  Lyman  Beecher,  I,  436,  437. 

49.  Ota  Thomas,  "The  Teaching  of  Rhetoric  in  the  United  States  During  the 
Classical  Period  of  Education,"  in  A  History  and  Criticism  of  American  Public 
Address,  ed.  William  Norwood  Brigance  (New  York,  1943),  I,  205. 

50.  Daniel  William  Scully,  "The  Influence  of  James  Rush,  M.  D,  upon  Ameri- 
can Elocution  Through  His  Immediate  Followers,"  unpublished  M.A.  thesis,  Loui- 
siana, 1951,  pp.  48-85. 

51.  (New  Haven,  1830). 

52.  Catalogue  of  the  Officers  and  Students  in  Yale  College,  1830-1831. 

53.  Peabody,  Harvard  Reminiscences,  p.  90. 

54.  Scully,  "The  Influence  of  James  Rush,"  pp.  48-85. 

55.  Ibid. 

56.  James  E.  Murdoch,  A  Plea  for  Spoken  Language  (Cincinnati  and  New 
York,  1883),  p.  102. 

57.  Peabody,  Harvard  Reminiscences,  p.  91;  Scully,  "The  Influence  of  James 
Rush,"  pp.  48-85. 

58.  Analytic  Elocution  (Cincinnati  and  New  York,  1884),  Preface,  p.  iv. 

59.  (Boston,  1893). 

60.  Frederick  W.  Haberman,  "The  Elocutionary  Movement  in  England,  1750- 
1850,"  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  Cornell  University,  1947,  p.  43. 

61.  Ibid. 

62.  T.  D.  Woolsey,  "Address  Commemorative  of  Chauncey  Allen  Goodrich," 
quoted  in  John  P.  Hoshor,  "Lectures  on  Rhetoric  and  Public  Speaking  by  Chauncey 
Allen  Goodrich,"  SM,  XIV  (1947),  2. 

63.  Chauncey  Goodrich,  Select  British  Eloquence  (New  York,  1852),  Preface. 

64.  Roach,  Speech  Education  at  Columbia  College,  p.  40. 

65.  George  Gary  Bush,  History  of  Higher  Education  in  Massachusetts  (Wash- 
ington, 1891),  pp.  229,  232;  see  also  Franklin  Carter,  Mark  Hopkins  (Boston, 
1893),  pp.  143,  144. 

66.  Bush,  Higher  Education  in  Massachusetts,  p.  261. 

67.  P.  M.  D.  Williamson,  "Speech  at  Bowdoin,"  unpublished  manuscript  of  a 
speech  delivered  at  the  Convention  of  the  Speech  Association  of  America,  Decem- 
ber, 1951. 

68.  "Annual  Report  of  Professor  John  McVickar,  1833,"  and  "Report  of  Mr. 
William  Betts,  1830,"  quoted  in  Roach,  Speech  Education  at  Columbia  College, 
pp.  48-49. 

69.  Guthrie,  op.  cit ,  p.  69. 

70.  Donald  Elmer  Polzin,  "Curricular  and  Extra-Curricular  Speech  Training  at 


Illinois  College,  1829-1900,"  unpublished  M.A.  thesis,  University  of  Illinois,  1952, 
p.  4. 

71.  Ibid.,  p.  3. 

72.  Rahe,  "Speech  Education  in  Ten  Indiana  Colleges,"  p.  410. 

73.  Henry  Adams,  The  Education  of  Henry  Adams  (New  York,  1931),  p.  66. 

74.  Ibid.,  p.  69. 

75.  Ibid. 

76.  Ibid. 

77.  Ibid. 

78.  Thomas  E   Coulton,  "Trends  in  Speech  Education  in  American  Colleges, 
1835-1935,"  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  New  York  University,  1935,  p.  43. 

79.  Ibid.9  p.  46. 

80.  Samuel  Eliot  Morison,  The  Development  of  Harvard  University,  1869-1929 
(Cambridge,  1930),  pp.  66-67. 

81.  Ibid. 

82.  Ibid. 

83.  Ibid. 

84.  Ibid. 

85.  Annual  Report  of  the  President  of  Harvard  College,  1855-53. 

86.  Ibid. 

87.  Annual  Report  of  the  President  of  Harvard  College,  1853-54. 

88.  Roach,  Speech  Education  at  Columbia  College,  p.  73. 

89.  Register  of  the  University  of  California,  1870. 

90.  Louis  Franklin  Snow,  The  College  Curriculum  in  the  United  States  (New 
York,  1907),  p.  173. 

91.  Morison,  Development  of  Harvard  University,  pp.  74-81. 

92.  Murdoch,  A  Plea  for  Spoken  Language,  p.  9. 

93.  Catalog  of  Allegheny  College,  1875-1876,  p.  32. 

94.  Roach,  Speech  Education  at  Columbia  College,  p.  77. 

95.  Register  of  the  University  of  California,  1870. 

96.  Polzin,  "Speech  Training  at  Illinois  College,"  pp.  9,  10. 

97.  Ibid.,p  9. 

98.  Willard  B.  Marsh,  "A  Century  and  a  Third  of  Speech  Training  at  Hamilton 
College,"  Quarterly  Journal  of  Speech,  XXXIII  (February,  1947),  23-27. 

99.  Ibid.,  p.  26. 

100.  Ibid.9  p.  23. 

101.  Ibid.,  p.  27. 

102.  Bliss  Perry,  And  Gladly  Teach  (Boston  and  New  York,  1935),  p.  56. 

103.  Ibid.,  p.  56. 

104.  Ibid. 

105.  Ibid. 

106.  Ibid.,  p.  67. 

107.  Ibid.,  p.  57. 

108.  Ibid.9  p.  135. 

109.  Ibid. 

110.  The  Silver  and  Gold  (University  of  Colorado  student  newspaper),  Feb.  21, 

111.  The  Coloradoan  (1900),  p.  108. 

112.  Bush,  Higher  Education  in  Massachusetts,  p.  156. 

113.  Ibid.,  p.  252. 

114.  Catalogue  of  Oberlin  College  for  the  Year  1891-92. 

115.  Catalogue  of  Northwestern  University,  1893-94. 

116.  Catalogue  of  the  University  of  Wisconsin  for  1893-94. 

117.  Catalogue  of  the  University  of  Oregon,  Eugene,  1896-97. 

118.  University  of  California  Annual  Announcement  of  Courses  of  Instruction 
in  the  College  at  Berkeley  for  the  Academic  Year  1899-1900. 


119.  Catalogue  of  the  Officers  and  Students  of  the  University  of  Alabama,  for 
the  Academic  Year  1898-99. 

120.  Calendar  of  the  University  of  Michigan,  1899-1900. 

121.  Catalogue  of  the  University  of  Illinois,  1898-99. 

122.  W.  J.  Bryan  and  Mary  Baird  Bryan,  The  Memoirs  of  William  Jennings 
Bryan  (Chicago,  1925),  p.  87. 

123.  Thomas  C.  Trueblood,  "Pioneering  in  Speech/'  QJS,  XXVII  (December, 
1941),  503-511,  see  also  Giles  Wilkeson  Gray,  "Research  in  the  Histoiy  of  Speech 
Education,"  QJS,  XXXV  (April,  1949),  156-163. 

124.  Ibid. 

125.  Catalogue  of  the  University  of  Oregon,  1896-97. 

126.  Calendar  of  the  University  of  Michigan,  1899-1900. 

127.  Columbine  (University  of  Colorado  school  annual),  I  (1893),  p.  38. 

128.  Catalogue  of  the  University  of  Illinois,  1893-94. 

129.  Huron  College  Catalogue,  1901-02. 

130.  John  F.  Genung,  The  Study  of  Rhetoric  in  the  College  Course  (Boston, 
1892),  p.  12. 

131.  Coulton,  "Speech  Education  in  American  Colleges,"  p.  139. 

O     The  Elocutionary  Movement  and  its 
Chief  Figures 


The  Elocutionary  Movement  in  America  derived  from  the  English 
schools  of  elocution  and  until  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century 
showed  little  originality.  The  greatest  single  influence  upon  teachers 
and  textbook  writers  during  this  early  period  was  Dr.  James  Rush  who 
introduced  scientific  aspects  of  vocal  production  in  his  book,  Philosophy 
of  the  Human  Voice,  published  in  1827.  Teaching  of  elocution  was 
given  a  new  impetus;  it  was  concerned  not  only  with  the  delivery  of 
the  speaker  or  reader  as  it  affected  the  audience  but  with  an  analysis 
of  vocal  production  in  physiological  and  physical  terms.  Because  of  a 
demand  for  such  training  by  students  who  planned  to  be  ministers, 
lawyers,  or  political  leaders,  elocution  became  a  part  of  the  educational 
program.  The  organization  of  lyceums  and  reading  groups,  the  popu- 
larity of  the  public  lecturer  and  reader,  and  the  growth  of  the  American 
theatre  also  contributed,  perhaps  indirectly,  to  a  new  emphasis  upon 
training  in  the  effective  use  of  voice  and  gesture. 

This  was  an  ideal  time  for  such  a  movement  to  flourish.  The  country 
itself  was  expanding,  pushing  its  physical  boundaries  westward  and 
extending  its  mental  boundaries  to  accommodate  new  and  controversial 
ideas.  It  is  the  period  often  referred  to  as  "romantic";  the  potentials  for 
the  development  of  the  greatest,  free,  educated  people  seemed  self- 
evident.1  Commager  characterizes  the  American  of  the  nineteenth  cen- 
tury as  both  romantic  and  sentimental:  "He  was  sentimental  about 
Nature  in  her  grander  aspects  and  liked  rolling  rhetoric  in  his  orators. 
He  thought  the  whole  history  of  his  country  romantic  and  heroic  and 
on  every  Fourth  of  July  and  Decoration  Day  indulged  in  orgies  of 
sentiment/7  2  This  was  a  time  which  demanded  orators,  ministers,  lec- 



turers,  and  actors  who  could  make  themselves  heard  over  the  noise  of 
a  lusty  and  vociferous  populace. 

The  oratory  of  this  period  proclaimed  the  ideals  of  America  and 
debated  her  problems;  the  lyceum  popularized  the  lecturer  as  a  form 
of  entertainment  combined  with  instruction;  and  the  theatre,  especially 
in  urban  centers,  became  an  accepted  part  of  the  cultural  pattern.  When 
Puritan  restraints  were  somewhat  relaxed,  the  public  which  had  been 
starved  overlong  demanded  a  generous  and  hearty  dramatic  fare  in  all 
public  speech.  In  America  Learns  to  Play,  Dulles  says:  "It  was  an  age 
of  oratory,  of  theatricalism.  The  actors  were  the  rivals  of  Clay,  Calhoun, 
and  Webster,  and  they  tried  to  outdo  them  at  their  own  trade."  3 

In  answer  to  a  demand  for  training  in  elocution  many  people  became 
teachers  (they  were  often  trained  for  other  professions  such  as  medi- 
cine or  the  theatre )  and,  in  step  with  a  new  interest  in  science,  tried  to 
add  to  their  scientific  knowledge  of  the  vocal  instrument  and  thus 
improve  their  methods  of  instruction.  The  Philosophy  of  the  Human 
Voice  gave  them  direction  and  inspiration.  Walker's  Elements  of  Elocu- 
tion was  the  most  popular  English  textbook  used  in  the  American  col- 
leges at  the  beginning  of  the  century,  but  Sheridan,  Steele,  Austin, 
Burgh,  Scott,  ,and  Whately  all  exerted  an  influence  on  these  early  elo- 
cutionists. However,  the  day  of  English  dominance  had  passed  and  the 
Rush  System  was  to  stimulate  many  American  teachers  of  elocution  to 
write  their  own  textbooks.  From  an  examination  of  college  catalogs, 
Guthrie  found  that  the  American  textbooks  used  from  1821-1850  were 
those  written  by  Ebenezer  Porter,  James  Barber,  Merritt  Caldwell,  and 
William  Russell.  The  only  textbook  that  rivalled  them  in  popularity 
was  Walker's  Elements  of  Elocution,  and  the  most  used  textbooks  were 
those  written  by  Porter.4 

Although  declamations,  disputations,  and  training  in  rhetoric  had 
been  a  part  of  the  college  program  from  the  beginning,  it  was  not  until 
the  nineteenth  century  that  special  chairs  were  endowed  and  speech 
training  organized  into  different  courses.  Elocution,  sometimes  of- 
fered as  a  separate  study,  was  often  combined  with  the  course  in  com- 
position. At  Amherst,  in  1842-1843,  a  course  was  offered  for  Freshmen 
called  Elements  of  Orthoepy  and  Elocution  which  was  supplemented 
by  weekly  exercises  in  declamation  and  composition.  At  the  same  time, 
the  University  of  Alabama  was  offering  a  course,  Elocution,  which  in- 
cluded original  compositions  in  Latin  and  English  that  were  given 
publicly  by  the  Freshmen  every  Wednesday.  In  1861,  Harvard  gave  a 
course  entitled  Elocution  which  included:  Lessons  in  Orthoepy,  Lessons 
in  Expression,  Lessons  in  Action,  and  Rhetorical  Analysis  and  Reading. 
The  Yale  catalog  for  the  same  year  describes  a  Sophomore  course  as 
Elocution,  Declamation,  and  Composition.5 


There  was  an  interest  in  elocutionary  training  in  the  lower  schools  as 
well  as  in  the  colleges.  William  Russell,  the  first  editor  of  the  American 
Journal  of  Education  (from  1826-1829)  was  particularly  interested  in 
the  improvement  of  the  "expressive  faculties,"  regulated  "by  the  laws 
of  thought,  as  dictated  by  the  sciences  of  logic  and  grammar,  adorned 
by  the  graces  of  rhetoric."  G  Russell  wrote  many  books  to  assist  the 
teacher  in  the  lower  school.  Some  of  the  textbooks  written  by  other 
elocutionists  were  shortened  so  that  they  could  be  used  in  the  grammar 
schools;  Porter's  Rhetorical  Grammar  was  one  of  of  the  most  popular. 
In  addition,  there  were  innumerable  "speakers"  and  "readers,"  consist- 
ing mainly  of  selections  of  poetry  and  prose  but  usually  offering  some 
elocutionary  theory.  The  famous  McGuffey  readers  gave  credit  to 
Walker  for  the  elocutionary  principles  recommended  to  teacher  and 

Desire  for  education  was  rivalled  only  by  the  desire  to  be  entertained. 
The  theatre  had  broken  through  the  puritanic  prejudice  by  the  end  of 
the  eighteenth  century.  In  the  first  decades  of  the  nineteenth  century, 
the  stars  were  usually  English  actors,  but  by  mid-century  native  talent 
was  recognized.  The  theatre  circuit  extended  from  Boston  to  New 
Orleans  and  on  to  California,  and  more  than  fifty  established  stock 
companies  were  scattered  throughout  the  country  in  1850. 7 

The -professional  readers  were  closely  related  to  the  theatre;  most  of 
them  were  actors  who,  when  not  playing  in  the  theatre,  gave  programs 
of  readings  from  Shakespeare  or  from  well-known  poets.  This  kind  of 
entertainment  was  especially  popular  during  Lent  and  was  approved 
by  many  people  who  were  still  suspicious  of  the  theatre  as  a  form  of 
entertainment.  Anna  Cora  Mowatt,  the  author  of  Fashion,  claims  the 
distinction  of  being  the  first  American  woman  to  read  professionally. 
After  appearances  in  Boston  and  Providence,  she  appeared  at  Stuy- 
vesant  Institute,  New  York,  on  November  13,  1841,  reading  selections 
from  Scott,  Mrs.  Hemans,  Oliver  Wendell  Holmes,  and  Lord  Byron. 
Shortly  thereafter,  there  were  six  women  elocutionists  who  were  giving 
programs  throughout  the  country.8  Among  the  actors,  Edwin  Forrest, 
Edwin  Booth,  George  Vanderhoff,  and  James  E.  Murdoch  were  popu- 
lar readers. 

During  this  early  period  in  the  development  of  elocution  in  America, 
the  teacher  was  often  an  itinerant  who  gave  lectures  and  programs  of 
readings  in  addition  to  his  work  as  an  instructor.  He  often  gave  private 
lessons  in  several  educational  institutions  in  an  area.  Sometimes  he  set 
up  his  own  private  school  of  elocution. 

The  School  of  Practical  Rhetoric  and  Oratory,  organized  by  Russell 
and  Murdoch,  was  one  of  the  first  private  schools.  Andrew  Comstock 
was  operating  his  Vocal  and  Polyglot  Gymnasium  in  Philadelphia  at 


about  the  same  time.  The  National  School  of  Elocution  and  Oratory 
was  established  by  J.  W.  Shoemaker  in  Philadelphia  in  1866.  By  the  end 
of  the  century,  the  professional  school  had  developed  into  an  institution 
of  importance.  Four  of  the  largest  and  best  known  schools  were  devel- 
oped in  the  last  quarter  of  the  century:  the  School  of  Expression  which 
later  became  Curry  College,  Emerson  College  of  Oratory,  the  Colum- 
bia School  of  Expression,  and  the  Phillips  School  of  Oratory.  The  first 
two  were  in  Boston,  the  second  two  in  Chicago.9 

It  seems  clear  that  professional,  educational,  and  cultural  conditions 
were  congenial  to  the  development  of  elocution.  To  appreciate  what 
the  elocutionists  were  teaching  their  students,  attention  will  now  be 
focused  on  several  of  the  principal  figures  in  the  movement.  Rush,  him- 
self, is  reserved  for  special  study  elsewhere  in  this  volume.  We  shall  be 
concerned  chiefly  with:  Ebenezer  Porter,  James  Barber,  William  Rus- 
sell, James  E.  Murdoch,  and  Samuel  Silas  Curry.  Barber  and  Murdoch 
were  devoted  to  the  Rush  system;  Porter  and  Curry  were  eclectic  in 
their  theories  and  methods,  taking  what  they  considered  best  from 
other  elocutionists  and  adding  ideas  of  their  own.  They  were  all  sin- 
cere in  their  desire  to  improve  the  speaking  and  reading  of  the  Ameri- 
can people,  and  they  were  all  interested  in  studying  the  vocal  mecha- 
nism so  that  they  might  evolve  methods  of  teaching  which  would  follow 
the  cues  that  they  found  in  nature.  It  is  true  that  they  often  labelled 
current  methods  as  "mechanical"  or  "natural,"  and  that  there  was  variety 
in  the  systems  followed,  but  the  objectives  of  the  leaders  were  pretty 
much  the  same.  The  followers  were  the  ones,  who,  by  misinterpreta- 
tion and  lack  of  serious  study  and  appreciation,  sometimes  brought 
discredit  upon  the  elocutionary  movement. 


As  in  England,  the  century  before,  the  clergy  were  among  the  first 
to  emphasize  the  need  for  training  in  elocution.  Rev.  Ebenezer  Porter, 
Bartlett  Professor  of  Sacred  Rhetoric  in  Andover  Seminary,  was  one  of 
the  pioneer  teachers  and  textbook  writers.  He  believed  that  the  worst 
faults  in  elocution  originated  from  a  lack  of  feeling  but  recognized  also 
the  faults  of  diction,  monotonous  inflections,  inappropriate  stress,  and 
timing.  Since  Walker's  Elements  of  Elocution  did  not  quite  satisfy  his 
needs  as  a  teacher,  he  wrote  his  own  textbook.10  Porter,  like  Rush,  was 
interested  in  developing  a  scientific  basis  for  voice  training.  Yarbrough 
believes  him  to  be  the  first  teacher  to  consider  speech  from  the  point 
of  view  of  anatomy  and  physiology.11  His  Lectures  on  Eloquence 
includes  four  chapters  on  these  aspects  of  speech. 

Porter  divided  the  study  of  elocution  into  five  parts:  articulation,  in- 


flection,  accent  and  emphasis,  modulation,  and  action.  His  approach  to 
the  problem  of  improving  the  reading  and  speaking  of  the  student  was 
an  analysis  of  the  faults  as  they  represented  deviations  from  good  con- 
versational speech  and  a  program  of  practice  to  substitute  good  habits 
for  the  undesirable  ones.  Porter  believed  that  the  student  should  be 
allowed  to  read  without  interruption  in  class  exercises.  When  he  had 
finished,  the  teacher  pointed  out  the  mistakes,  demonstrated  by  read- 
ing the  exercise  correctly,  then  asked  the  student  to  repeat  the  parts 
that  were  not  well  done.12 

In  his  discussion  of  articulation,  Porter  attributes  defective  sounds  to 
bad  organs,  bad  habits,  or  difficulties  of  production.  He  also  suggests 
that  there  is  a  connection  between  the  temperament  of  the  reader  and 
his  articulation. 

A  sluggish  action  of  the  mind  imparts  a  correspondent  character  to  the  action 
of  the  vocal  organs,  and  makes  speech  only  a  succession  of  indolent,  half- 
formed  sounds,  more  resembling  the  muttering  of  a  dream  than  clear  articu- 
lation. . . .  Excess  of  vivacity,  on  the  other  hand,  or  excess  of  sensibility,  often 
produces  a  hasty,  confused  utterance.13 

Like  many  of  the  early  elocutionists,  Porter  was  interested  in  pro- 
moting good  health  in  connection  with  elocutionary  training.  He  be- 
lieved that  the  quantity  or  fullness  of  the  voice  depended  upon  the 
strength  of  the  lungs  and,  in  turn,  believed  that  exercises  in  using  the 
voice  with  as  much  force  as  possible  would  develop  the  lungs.  Stam- 
mering he  attributed  to  "some  infidelity  of  the  nervous  temperament"; 
the  cure  depended  upon  improving  the  bodily  health  as  a  means  of 
giving  "firmness  to  the  nervous  system," 14 

Although  Porter  attempted  to  follow  Walker,  he  was  really  closer  to 
Sheridan  and  other  English  elocutionists  who  placed  understanding 
and  feeling  ahead  of  rules.  A  preliminary  training  of  the  voice  Porter 
considered  necessary,  but  the  most  important  part  of  effective  delivery 
was  the  emotional  sincerity  of  the  speaker: 

After  getting  command  of  the  voice,  the  great  point  to  be  steadily  kept  in 
view,  is  to  apply  the  principles  of  emphasis  and  inflection,  just  as  nature  and 
sentiment  demand.  In  respect  to  those  principles  of  modulation,  in  which  the 
power  of  delivery  so  essentially  consists,  we  should  always  remember  too 
that,  as  no  theory  of  passions  can  teach  a  man  to  be  pathetic,  so  no  descrip- 
tion that  can  be  given  of  the  inflection,  emphasis,  and  tones,  which  accom- 
pany emotion,  can  impart  this  emotion,  or  be  a  substitute  for  it.15 

Porter  used  notations  for  inflectional  changes  and  to  indicate  modula- 
tion.16 However,  any  system  for  the  representation  of  sound  he  felt  to 
be  inadequate  without  the  aid  of  the  teacher's  voice.  The  examples  used 
were  colloquial  in  order  to  encourage  the  reader  to  use  conversational 
tones  which,  "being  conformed  to  nature/'  were  instinctively  right:  ir 


In  contending  with  any  bad  habit  of  voice,  let  him  break  up  the  sentence 
on  which  the  difficulty  occurs,  and  throw  it,  if  possible,  into  colloquial  form. 
Let  him  observe  in  himself  and  others,  the  turns  of  voice  which  occur  in 
speaking,  familiarly  and  earnestly,  on  common  occasions.  Good  taste  will  then 
enable  him  to  transfer  to  public  delivery  the  same  turns  of  voice,  adapting 
them,  as  he  must  of  necessity,  to  the  elevation  of  his  subject.18 

According  to  Porter,  modulation,  or  variety  in  pitch  and  quantity,  and 
inflection  must  conform  to  the  sense  of  the  material.  The  pitch  of  the 
voice,  Porter  says,  should  be  "the  middle  key  or  that  which  we  spon- 
taneously adopt  in  earnest  conversation."  19 

Porter  uses  the  terms  emphatic  stress  (including  time  and  loudness) 
and  emphatic  inflection,  to  indicate  methods  of  pointing  up  an  idea  or 
intensifying  an  emotion.  The  principle  of  emphatic  stress,  he  explains, 
is  that  "it  falls  on  a  particular  word,  not  chiefly  because  that  word  be- 
longs to  one  class  or  another  in  grammar,  but  because,  in  the  present 
case,  it  is  important  to  sense." 

Teachers  of  elocution  were  interested  in  action  as  well  as  voice;  many 
of  them  used  the  mechanical  system  presented  in  Austin's  Chironomia., 
at  least  as  a  starting  place.  Barber  states  that  his  Practical  Treatise  on 
Gesture  is  abstracted  chiefly  from  Chironomia.  Russell  gives  credit  to 
this  source  but  says  that  he  adapted  the  exercises  to  his  own  methods.20 
Porter  in  his  discussion  of  action  in  terms  of  gesture,  attitude,  and 
expression  of  countenance,  speaks  of  two  extremes  which  should  be 
avoided.  The  first  encumbers  the  speaker  with  so  much  technical  regu- 
lation that  he  becomes  affected  and  mechanical  in  manner;  the  other 
condenses  all  precepts  and  preparatory  practice  into  the  advice,  "Be 
natural."  His  attitude  toward  this  aspect  of  elocution  is  as  follows:  "The 
body  is  the  instrument  of  the  soul,  the  medium  of  expressing  internal 
emotions  by  external  signs.  The  less  these  signs  depend  upon  the  will, 
on  usage,  or  on  accident,  the  more  uniform  are  they,  and  the  more  cer- 
tainly to  be  relied  on."  All  bodily  movement,  he  thought,  should  be 
spontaneous  and  reflect  the  speaker's  mental  and  emotional  reactions 
to  the  material.21 

Ebenezer  Porter,  according  to  his  associates  in  Andover  Theological 
Seminary,  was  an  outstanding  person— an  able  teacher,  writer,  and 
minister.  As  a  teacher  he  excelled  in  pointing  out  with  precision  faults 
in  composition,  enunciation,  and  gesticulation,  and  in  prescribing  cor- 
rectives.22 According  to  Rowe,  he  had  an  attractive  personality  and  was 
always  kindly  in  his  class  criticisms  of  the  "crude  homiletical  achieve- 
ments." 23 

In  the  History  of  Andover  Theological  Seminary,  Dr.  Porter  is  com- 
mended highly  for  his  work.  In  1827,  he  was  selected  by  his  colleagues 
to  be  the  first  president  of  the  Seminary.  He  continued  his  work  as  pro- 


fessor  of  rhetoric  until  1831;  he  was  assisted  by  William  Russell  from 
1828  to  1829,  and  from  1829  to  1831  by  Jonathan  Barber.24 

Porter's  skill  in  writing,  no  doubt,  accounts  in  part  for  the  popularity 
of  his  textbooks  and  the  influence  he  exerted  outside  theological  circles. 
In  1824,  he  published  a  pamphlet,  Analysis  of  Vocal  Inflection  as 
Applied  in  Reading  and  Speaking.  The  textbook,  Analysis  of  the  Prin- 
ciples of  Rhetorical  Delivery,  was  published  in  1827,  and  the  shortened 
and  simplified  form  designed  for  grammar  schools,  The  Rhetorical 
Reader,  in  1831.  By  1843,  it  was  used  in  the  schools  in  every  state  of 
the  Union.  A  new  enlarged  edition  was  published  in  1848.  As  was 
stated  earlier,  Porter's  textbooks  were  the  most  popular  of  the  Amer- 
ican books  on  elocution.  Guthrie  gives  the  following  list  of  adop- 
tions: Arnherst  1827-1828,  Brown  1826-1832,  Dartmouth  1828-1840, 
Georgia  1844-1848,  Gettysburg  1846-1849,  Hampden-Sydney  1839-?, 
Middlebury  1828-1845,  Mount  Holyoke  1830-?,  Wesleyan  1832-1849.25 
According  to  the  review  of  the  book  in  the  North  American  Review, 
July,  1829,  Porter's  Analysis  of  the  Principles  of  Rhetorical  Delivery  was 
the  best  of  its  kind.26 

Ebenezer  Porter  contributed  immeasurably  to  the  growth  of  the  elo- 
cutionary movement  in  the  United  States,  He  developed  his  own 
theories,  based  upon  those  of  the  English  elocutionists,  directed  to 
the  problems  of  teaching  American  students.  He  wrote  in  a  clear  pre- 
cise style  and  attempted  to  select  materials  for  reading  which  would 
develop  a  good  conversational  style.  Although  he  was  first  of  all  a  min- 
ister, he  sought  to  improve  American  elocutionary  training. 


The  attempt  to  make  elocution  scientific  and  to  develop  better  meth- 
ods of  instruction  led  first  to  a  study  of  the  simplest  elements,  the  vowel 
and  consonant  sounds,  and  to  an  emphasis  upon  the  improvement  of 
articulation  as  the  beginning  of  all  speech  training.  American  speech 
may  have  been  so  careless  that  the  need  justified  the  great  effort  exerted 
to  make  students  sound  the  "vocal  elements"  properly  before  attempting 
reading  exercises.  Barber  was  most  emphatic  in  his  belief  that  "Elocu- 
tion should  always  attend  to  articulation,  as  the  primary  object;  and  in 
the  first  instance,  it  should  be  prosecuted  alone,  as  a  distinct  branch  of 
the  art,  and  prosecuted  until  perfection  in  it  is  attained."  According  to 
Barber's  Grammar  of  Elocution,  there  were  forty-six  vocal  elements 
which  depended  upon  certain  definite  positions  of  the  organs  of  speech 
—seventeen  vowels  and  twenty-nine  consonants.27 

In  the  preface  to  the  second  edition  of  Philosophy  of  the  Human 
Voice,  Dr.  Rush  states  that  Jonathan  Barjb^  was-tira&^JEga^^to  use 


his  system  of  elocution.  By  appointing  Dr.  Barber  to  its  department  of 
el~utio— Harvard  j)ecame  j£e  grgt  chartere(j  institution  that  gave  "in- 
fluential and  responsible  approbation  of  the  work."  28  Barber  was  an 
English  physician  who  had  devoted  himself  to  elocution  even  before 
meeting  Dr.  Rush.  He  had  published  books  of  readings  and  recitations, 
and  manuals  for  pronunciation  and  gesture  earlier,  but  his  most  impor- 
tant textbooks  were  written  when  he  was  teaching  at  Yale,  Harvard, 
and  Andover  Seminary.  A  Grammar  of  Elocution  was  published  in  1830, 
and  the  simplified  edition  designed  for  the  common  schools  titled,  An. 
Introduction  to  the  Grammar  of  Elocution,  in  1834.  These  two  books 
rested  heavily  upon  the  theories  of  Rush,  but  credit  was  also  given  to 
Steele  for  theories  concerning  melody,  and  to  Austin  for  those  on 

Barber  undoubtedly  developed  his  own  methods  of  teaching  but 
used  Rush's  terminology  and  based  his  course  of  training  on  the  prin- 
ciples set  forth  in  The  Philosophy  of  the  Human  Voice.  It  has  been 
mentioned  that  Barber  emphasized  training  in  articulation;  he  provided 
tables  of  the  vocal  elements  and  many  exercises  to  be  used  in  the  prac- 
tice of  vowel  and  consonant  sounds  and  their  combinations.  He  believed 
that  practice  in  unison,  no  matter  how  large  the  class,  was  a  very  effec- 
tive way  of  teaching.  'When  time  allows/'  he  says,  "it  may  be  well  for 
single  scholars  in  turn  to  follow  the  teacher's  voice,  before  the  class 
make  an  attempt  together;  but  the  final  concerted  movement  ought 
never  to  be  dispensed  with."  When  the  class  progressed  to  the  study  of 
sentences,  they  analyzed  the  sentence  and  decided  upon  the  intonation 
which  the  idea  demanded  and  then  repeated  it  together. 

Murdoch  records  that  the  students  sometimes  rebelled  against  the 
long  period  of  practice  on  the  elementary  sounds  which  Barber  re- 
quired. However,  Wendell  Phillips  testified  that  he  had  gained  much 
from  his  class  at  Harvard.  "Whatever  I  have  acquired  in  the  art  of  im- 
proving and  managing  my  voice,"  he  says,  "I  owe  to  Dr.  Barber's  sys- 
tem, suggestions,  and  lessons.  No  volume  or  treatise  on  the  voice  except 
those  of  Rush  and  Barber  has  ever  been  of  any  practical  value  to  me."  29 

The  following  analysis  of  the  pronunciation  of  the  word  man  will 
give  some  idea  of  the  meticulous  way  in  which  Barber  worked: 

In  pronouncing  the  word  MAN  the  lips  are  first  intentionally  brought  to- 
gether and  pressed  in  a  certain  way  against  each  other,  and  air  being  at  the 
same  time  forcibly  impelled  from  the  throat,  a  sound  is  heard  which  some- 
what resembles  the  lowing  of  an  ox.  The  lips  which  before  were  held  in 
somewhat  forcible  contact  are  now  separated,  the  mouth  is  opened  and  its 
cavity  is  put  into  a  particular  shape;  and  air  being  again  impelled  from  the 
throat  during  this  position  of  the  mouth,  the  sound  A  is  heard  as  that  letter 
is  pronounced  in  the  word  a-t.  Finally  this  last  sound  being  completed,  the 
tip  of  the  tongue  is  carried  upwards  from  the  lower  part  of  the  mouth,  and 


air  issuing  from  the  throat  in  a  forcible  manner  during  this  state  of  the  parts, 
the  peculiar  sound  appropriate  to  the  letter  N  is  heard.  In  order  to  obtain 
a  demonstration  of  the  particulars  of  this  description,  let  the  word  MAN  be 
pronounced  in  a  drawling  manner,  and  let  the  process  of  articulation  be  care- 
fully attended  to  during  its  continuance.  Let  the  position  which  the  lips  first 
adopt  be  maintained  for  some  time  while  the  murmur,  by  which  the  sound 
M  is  produced,  is  continued  from  the  throat;  avoiding  at  the  same  time  to 
proceed  to  sound  A:  then  ceasing  to  sound  the  M,  let  the  A  be  next  sounded 
alone,  observing  the  particular  shape  which  the  mouth  assumes  during  the 
sound,  as  well  as  the  character  of  the  sound  itself,  after  this  stop  again,  and 
whilst  the  tip  of  the  tongue  is  pressed  against  the  roof  of  the  mouth  and  the 
upper  gums,  let  the  N  be  slowly  murmured  through  the  organs.  After  the 
three  sounds  of  the  word  have  thus  been  separately  pronounced,  let  MAN 
be  slowly  uttered,  so  that  each  separate  sound  and  the  coalescence  of  them 
with  each  other,  may  be  distinctly  perceived  at  the  same  time.30 

English  elocutionists,  Walker,  Sheridan,  and  Steele,  were  all  inter- 
ested in  the  study  of  sounds  and  of  pronunciation,  and  in  the  explana- 
tion of  the  rhythms  of  prosody.  Haberman  states  that  they  laid  the 
foundation  for  the  later  development  of  speech  therapy,  voice  training, 
and  phonetics.31  The  early  American  elocutionists  usually  acknowl- 
edged their  debt  to  these  men  and  often  used  their  theories  and  nota- 
tions. Barber  used  Steel e's  notations  for  time  and  stress  in  Exercises  in 
Reading  and  Recitation,  and  in  the  selections  of  poetry  and  prose  in  the 
Grammar  of  Elocution.32 

Barber,  for  example,  made  an  attempt  in  his  later  writings  to  explain 
the  rhythm  of  speech  in  terms  of  the  vocal  mechanism  and  its  adjust- 
ments for  speaking.  He  felt  that  the  speaker  in  following  the  rhythm 
of  respiration  would  find  it  necessary  to  pause  more  often  than  punc- 
tuation indicated.  A  measure  in  speech  he  defined  as  a  heavy  or 
accented  portion  of  a  syllabic  sound  and  a  light  and  unaccented  portion 
which  were  produced  in  one  effect  by  the  organ  of  the  voice.  "The 
larynx,"  he  explains,  "is  a  compound  organ.  It  performs  the  function  of 
an  air  tube  and  of  a  musical  instrument.  The  first  is  essential  to  respira- 
tion, the  second  to  speech. ...  In  the  production  of  all  immediately  con- 
secutive sounds  the  larynx  acts  by  alternate  pulsations  and  remission. 
On  this  account,  two  heavy  or  accented  syllables  cannot  be  alternated 
with  each  other  while  a  heavy  and  light  one  can/' 33 

Although  Barber  put  great  emphasis  upon  practice  of  individual 
sounds"  arid"  exercises,  he  stated  that  an  effective  elocutionary  training 
could  not  depend  upon  a  multiplicity  of  rules,  and  indicated  that  he  was 
not  in  favor  of  Walker's  rules  for  inflection  based  upon  grammatical 
construction.34  He  believed  that  Dr.  Rush  had  succeeded Tn'*mafcing 
elocution  a  scientific  study  because  he  had  described  the  functions  of 
the  voice  and  "listened  to  Nature  as  few  ears  have  listened."  He  de- 
fended the  system  against  criticisms  that  it  was  mechanical  by  saying 


that  it  showed  the  student  the  natural  way  of  speaking  effectively.  In 
a  pamphlet  in  which  he  criticized  the  review  of  Rush's  book  which 
appeared  in  the  North  American  Review,  he  asks:  "But  is  natural  speak- 
ing any  other  than  a  right  use  of  the  functions  of  the  voice?"  35 


There  were  many  elocutionists  in  this  early  period  who  were  devotees 
of  Rush  and  tried,  as  Barber  did,  to  make  his  theories  practical.  Often 
they  gave  credit  to  the  English  elocutionists,  but  their  interest  and  pride 
in  the  American  scientist  who  had  given  them  a  physiological  basis 
upon  which  to  develop  their  methods  was  always  evident.  A  few  of  the 
outstanding  followers  of  Rush  were:  Merritt  Caldwell,  Andrew  Corn- 
stock,  Henry  N.  Day,  Samuel  Gummere,  Dr.  E.  D.  North,  James  E. 
Murdoch,  William  Russell,  and  George  Vanderhoff.36  They  represented 
the  fields  of  medicine,  education,  and  the  theatre. 

William  Russell  taught  in  a  variety  of  different  schools,  including 
Yale^  Harvard,  Princeton,  Andover  Seminary,  Boston  Public  Latin 
School,  and  Abbott  Female  Seminary.  He  lectured  in  teachers'  insti- 
tutes all  over  New  England  and  established  a  seminary  for  teachers  in 
New  Hampshire.  Russell  became  the  first  editor  of  the  American  Jour- 
nal of  Education  in  1826.  In  1828  he  assisted  Dr.  Porter,  and  again, 
from  1842  to  1844,  he  taught  in  Andover  Theological  Seminary  and  in 
the  Theological  Institute  in  East  Windsor,  Connecticut.  In  1844  he 
established  the  School  of  Practical  Rhetoric  and  Oratory  with  James  E. 

Russell  was  a  leader  in  education  and  wrote  altogether  some  thirty 
books,  sixteen  of  them  concerned  with  elocution.  Murdoch  was  an  actor 
and  reader,  and  together  they  made  a  good  combination,  the  one  inter- 
ested primarily  in  improving  the  methods  of  teaching  in  the  schools  and 
the  other  in  improving  the  public  performances  of  speakers,  readers, 
and  actors.  They  were  both  indebted  to  Rush  and  Austin  for  much  of 
their  elocutionary  theory,  although  Russell  mentions  Walker,  especially 
in  his  early  writings;  and  Murdoch  discusses  the  contributions  of  Steele 
and  Walker  in  his  Plea  for  the  Spoken  Language.  Their  chief  contribu- 
tion is  found  in  Orthophony  which  was  written  while  they  were  work- 
ing together  in  the  school. 

Russell  believed  that  the  elocutionary  training  should  start  in  the 
lower  schools.  The  methods  that  were  most  commonly  used  he  thought 
were  top  literal,  and  mechanical;  "In  many  schools,"  he  says,  "the  young 
pupil  never  has  his  attention  called,  definitely  or  consciously,  to  the  fact 
that  the  letters  of  the  alphabet  are  phonetic  characters,  the  whole  value 
of  which  consists  in  the  sounds  which  they  represent;  in  many,  he  may 


pass  through  the  whole  course  of  instruction  without  being  once  called 
to  practice  the  constituent  elementary  sounds  of  his  own  language;  in 
very  many,  there  is  no  attempt  made  to  exercise  and  develop,  modify, 
or  cultivate,  in  any  form,  the  voice  itself."  Russell  criticized  also  the 
mechanical  pronunciation  of  words  without  any  interpretation  of  the 
meaning  of  the  content  read.  Even  with  quite  small  children,  he  felt 
that  time  should  be  spent  in  analyzing  the  meaning  and  pointing  out 
the  significant  words.38 

Russell  was  convinced  that  elocution  should  be  a  part  of  educational 
training  but  thought  that  it  was  usually  taught  very  badly.  He  describes 
the  two  extremes  in  bad  instruction  in  the  following  manner: 

We  have,  in  our  current  modes  of  instruction,  little  choice  between  the 
faults  of  style  arising  from  what  the  indolent  incline  to  term  "a  generous  neg- 
lect" through  fear  of  "spoiling"  what  they  claim  as  "nature,"  and  those  faults, 
on  the  other  hand,  which  are  attributable  to  literal  and  mechanical  modes  of 
cultivation,  and  consist  in  the  obtrusion  of  arbitrary  details  and  artificial 
forms.  Hence  the  results  which  characterize  the  one,  in  the  gross  errors  of 
slovenly  and  low  habit,  coarse  and  disgusting  manner,  uncouth  effect,  bawl- 
ing vehemence,  and  gesticulating  violence,  of  what  is  sometimes  dignified 
with  the  name  of  "popular  oratory";  and  hence  the  opposite  traits  of  finical 
taste,  affected  elegance,  false  refinement,  and  studied  contrivances  of  effect, 
which  belong  to  perverted  culture.39 

Every  teacher  must  have  reasons  for  correcting  the  emphasis,  the  inflec- 
tions, and  pauses  which  a  student  uses  in  reading— these  reasons, 
according  to  Russell,  are  the  rules.40 

Elocution,  in  the  late  forties,  had  developed  to  the  stage  of  opposing 
theorists.  It  was  not  enough  to  convince  educators  that  there  was  a 
need  for  elocutionary  training,  but  it  was  also  necessary  to  defend  the 
methods  used  in  teaching.  Whately  believed  that  rules  vitiated  style  and 
insisted  that  nature  could  be  depended  upon  to  produce  effective 
speech  if  the  speaker  or  reader  understood  and  was  emotionally  respon- 
sive to  the  content  itself.  Russell  placed  Whately  in  the  group  of 
extremists  who  did  not  believe  in  cultivation  of  the  voice  and  says  of 
him:  "A  true  and  efficient  friend  of  education,  in  other  respects,  thus 
sides  with  the  opponents  of  culture,  by  speaking  from  the  preferences 
of  personal  taste  and  arbitrary  opinion,  instead  of  the  laws  of  analogy 
and  universal  truth/' 41  Russell  believed  the  rules  he  used  to  be  the 
"truest  forms  of  nature  embodied  in  practice." 

Around  the  middle  of  the  century,  a  kind  of  touchiness  and  "on  the 
defensive"  attitude  is  noticeable.  The  itinerant  teacher  was  not  always 
welcomed  as  he  had  been  earlier.  Russell  was  not  allowed  to  continue 
teaching  at  Harvard;  he  was  cordially  received  in  1825,  but  twenty 
years  later  was  denied  the  privilege  of  teaching  a  class  in  elocution.42 


Murdoch  attributes  the  failure  of  their  school  in  Boston  to  an  announce- 
ment made  in  the  high  schools  barring  boys  trained  in  private  schools 
from  entering  the  declamation  contests.43  Rush  and  his  followers  were 
disappointed  that  his  system  had  not  caught  on  as  generally  as  they  had 

The  elocutionary  movement,  which  had  moved  so  rapidly,  and  per- 
haps f  addishly,  in  the  first  part  of  the  century,  was  beginning  to  meet 
antagonism  in  academic  circles.  It  was  becoming  too  much  the  per- 
former's art  and  did  not  meet  the  needs  of  the  students  who  were  being 
trained  for  the  professions  of  law  and  the  ministry. 


James  E.  Murdoch  may  be  said  to  represent  that  phase  of  elocu- 
tionary training  which  was  concerned  with  the  training  of  public  enter- 
tainers—readers and  actors.  However,  he  did  not  restrict  his  work  to 
the~stage  but  devoted  much  of  his  time  to  teaching  and  lecturing.  Mur- 
(fodhTwks  a  devotee  of  the  Rush  system  throughout  his  life.  Although 
he  met  Dr.  Rush  when  his  theories  were  first  introduced,  his  interest 
did  not  develop  until  advised  by  Edwin  Forrest,  the  leading  actor  of 
the  day,  to  consult  Rush  for  proper  methods  to  improve  the  quality  of 
his  voice.  Murdoch  records  that  he  became  intimately  acquainted  with 
Dr.  Rush,  and  received  "rather  in  the  capacity  of  a  friend  than  of  a 
professional  teacher,  a  practical  exposition  of  the  underlying  principles 
of  his  'Philosophy  of  the  Human  Voice'. . . ." 44  In  Murdoch's  textbook, 
Analytic  Elocution.,  published  in  1884,  he  affirms  his  earlier  conclu- 
sions: that  training  the  voice  was  the  most  important  part  of  elocution, 
that  the  speaking  voice  may  be  developed  in  the  same  strength,  beauty, 
and  flexibility  as  the  singing  voice,  and  that  the  Philosophy  of  the 
Human  Voice  set  forth  the  most  complete  system  of  vocal  training. 
Murdoch  was  a  leader  in  the  elocutionary  movement  for  fifty  years. 

As  an  actor,  Murdoch  toured  the  country  from  Boston  to  San  Fran- 
cisco. He  appeared  with  the  leading  actors  of  the  day,  Edwin  Booth, 
Edwin  Forrest,  and  Fanny  Kemble.  According  to  his  critics,  he  lacked 
the  fire  of  Forrest  or  Booth  and  was  never  a  favorite  in  tragedy  although 
he  excelled  in  comedy.  The  New  York  Herald  for  September  8,  1857, 
probably  analyzed  his  acting  accurately  in  the  following  criticism: 
"Every  scene  bears  marks  of  careful  study,  and  is  elaborated  to  the  mi- 
nutest details. . . .  Nothing  is  slurred  over,  nothing  is  overdone. . . .  But 
this  is  all.  With  great  natural  and  acquired  advantages  Mr.  Murdoch  is 
not  a  genius.  He  lacks  the  art  that  conceals  art  and  is  without  that  happy 
inspiration  that  gives  life  to  the  creation."  45 

It  is  also  possible  that  Murdoch's  career  as  an  actor  was  not  alto- 


gether  satisfactory  to  him  and  that  he  sought  to  supplement  it  through 
teaching  and  lecturing.  His  health  was  not  good  and  occasionally,  as  in 
England,  he  was  forced  to  cancel  engagements.  The  fact  is  that  he 
retired  from  the  stage  from  time  to  time  and  devoted  himself  whole- 
heartedly to  advancing  the  Rush  system  of  elocution  and  to  giving  lec- 
tures and  readings.  He  became  a  very  popular  reader  during  the  Civil 
War.  As  soon  as  he  heard  that  his  favorite  son  had  joined  the  Army,  he 
closed  his  engagement  in  the  theatre  in  Pittsburgh  and  went  to  Wash- 
ington. He  gave  patriotic  readings  in  the  hospitals  to  entertain  the 
soldiers,  in  both  houses  of  Congress  to  inspire  patriotism,  and  in  many 
Northern  cities  as  benefit  performances  to  raise  money  for  the  hospital 
fund.  Odell  records  programs  of  Shakespearian  readings  given  by 
Murdoch  in  New  York  as  early  as  1845,  again  in  1872  when  he  read 
in  the  Tabernacle  and  brought  to  the  program  something  of  the  "stateli- 
ness  of  the  old  school,"  and  as  late  as  1883.46 

During  the  latter  part  of  his  life,  Murdoch  spent  most  of  his  time  on 
his  farm  in  Ohio,  yet  he  participated  in  a  Shakespearian  Festival  in 
Cincinnati  Music  Hall  in  1883,  playing  Marc  Antony  and  Hamlet. 
According  to  the  Cincinnati  Commercial  Gazette,  Mr.  Murdoch  could 
be  heard  easily  and  his  voice  had  the  "same  ring  as  of  yore."  47  On  May 
22,  1889,  Murdoch  played  Charles  Surface  to  Mrs.  John  Drew's  Lady 
Teazle  in  a  benefit  performance  of  School  for  Scandal  given  "by  the 
citizens  of  Philadelphia  to  their  representative  actor."  Mrs.  Drew  in  her 
autobiography  testifies  to  his  ability  as  an  actor  and  to  his  charm  as  a 
man.  She  says  that  he  never  imitated  Forrest  but  was  always  himself 
"which  was  rare  in  an  American  actor  of  that  time."  48 

Murdoch  believed  in  training  the  voice  but  not  according  to  such 
arbitrary  rules  and  prescribed  grooves  that  the  individual's  character- 
istic speech  was  changed  to  imitate  that  of  the  teacher.  In  The  Stage 
or  Recollections  of  Actors  and  Acting,  written  after  fifty  years  of  expe- 
rience, he  deplored  the  neglect  of  training  for  actors  : 

A  century  ago  elocution  of  a  declamatory  style  was  the  prevailing  dramatic 
tone,  but  yielding  to  the  changes  of  fashion,  it  gradually  assumed  the  form 
of  what  was  termed  natural  speech;  which  in  its  turn,  at  the  dictate  of  novelty 
became  eccentric,  and  however  paradoxical  it  may  appear,  unnatural.  Of  late 
years  the  elocution  of  the  English  and  American  stage,  with  but  few  excep- 
tions, has  been,  no  matter  how  offensive  the  term  may  be  considered,  rather 
a  matter  of  instinct  than  the  result  of  intelligent  vocal  culture.49 

In  Analytic  Elocution,  Murdoch  defines  elocution  as  "the  art  of  so 
employing  the  Quality,  Pitch,  Force,  Time,  and  Abruptness  of  the  voice 
as  to  convey  the  sense,  sentiment,  and  passion  of  composition  or  dis- 
course in  the  fullest  and  most  natural  manner,  and  at  the  same  time  with 
the  greatest  possible  gratification  to  the  ear."  50  The  student,  according 


to  Murdoch,  should  first  learn  to  control  the  vocal  mechanism  and  then 
to  master  the  vocal  elements. 

Although  Murdoch  did  not  publish  any  books  until  between  1880- 
1884,  most  of  his  elocutionary  theory  had  appeared  earlier  in  Orthoph- 
ony  which,  according  to  the  preface,  derived  from  the  Rush  system 
and  presented  the  "vocal  gymnastics"  used  by  Murdoch  in  his  teaching. 
Both  Orthophony  and  Analytic  Elocution  present  the  theories  of  Dr. 
Rush  in  a  simple,  readable  style.  The  innovations  and  additions  which 
can  be  credited  to  Russell  and  Murdoch  indicate  greater  precision  and 
accuracy  in  isolating  the  sounds  of  the  language  and  an  awareness  of 
the  necessity  of  fitting  the  methods  to  the  student  and  his  needs.  The 
following  example  shows  their  attention  to  the  study  of  speech  sounds: 

ai,  in  air,  though  not  recognized  by  Dr.  Rush,  nor  by  any  other  writers  on 
elocution,  as  a  separate  element  from  a,  in  ale,  is  obviously  a  distinct  sound, 
approaching  to  that  of  e,  in  end,  but  not  forming  so  close  a  sound  to  the  ear. 
.  . .  o,  in  or,  and  o,  in  on,  are  apparently  considered  by  Dr.  Rush  and  by 
Walker,  as  modifications  of  a,  as  in  all.  Admitting,  however,  the  identity  of 
quality  in  these  elements,  their  obvious  difference  in  quantity,  and  in  the 
position  and  pressure  of  the  muscles  by  which,  as  sounds,  they  are  formed, 
together  with  the  precision  and  correctness  of  articulation  demand  a  sepa- 
rate place  for  them  in  the  elementary  exercises. 

Further  observation  indicated  the  a  sounds  in  awe,  all,  arm,  and  an  were 
not  diphthongal  as  Rush  believed.  The  final  r  was  distinguished  from 
the  initial  r  which  was  a  harder  sound,  "executed  by  a  forcible  but  brief 
vibration  of  the  tip  of  the  tongue  against  the  first  projecting  ridge  of  the 
interior  gum,  immediately  above  the  upper  teeth."  The  list  of  the 
elementary  sounds  as  given  in  Orthophony  is  very  similar  to  our  present 
classifications:  oral  and  laryngeal  sounds,  a-11,  a-rm,  e-ve,  oo-ze,  e-rr, 
e-nd,  i-n,  ai-r,  u-p,  o-r,  o-n,  a-le,  i-ce,  o-ld,  ou-r,  oi-1,  u-se;  labial  sounds, 
b-a-be,  p-i-pe,  m-ai-m,  w-oe,  v-al-ve,  f-i-fe;  palatic  sounds,  c-a-ke,  g-ag, 
y-e;  dental  sounds,  d-i-d,  t-en-t,  th-in,  th-ine,  a-z-ure,  pu-sh,  cea-se, 
z-one,  j-oy,  ch-ur-ch;  aspirate  sounds,  h-e;  nasal  sounds,  n-u-n,  s-ing, 
i-n-k;  lingual  sounds,  1-u-ll,  r-ap,  fa-r.  Although  m  is  not  listed  as  a  nasal, 
the  description  of  the  sound  indicates  that  Murdoch  and  Russell  were 
aware  of  its  nasal  quality:  "The  'subtonic'  m  is  articulated  by  a  very 
gentle  compression  of  the  lips,  attended  by  a  murmur  in  the  head  and 
chest,  resembling  somewhat  that  which  forms  the  character  of  the 
'subtonic'  b,  but  differing  from  it  in  the  sound  being  accompanied  by  a 
free,  steady  equable  "expiration*  through  the  nostrils."  51 

The  consideration  of  the  quality  of  the  voice  was  important  to  the 
early  elocutionists.  The  "improved"  quality  designated  by  Dr.  Rush  as 
orotund  was  considered  most  desirable.  Rush  describes  this  quality  as 
"sub-sonorous"  and  states  that  it  was  rarely  heard  in  ordinary  speech 


and  never  in  its  highest  excellence  except  when  cultivated.  Other  quali- 
ties which  were  heard  in  speaking  and  were  useful  especially  in  read- 
ing and  acting  were:  whispering,  guttural,  natural,  and  falsetto.52 
Pectoral,  nasal,  and  oral  were  terms  used  to  describe  the  excess  of  a 
particular  kind  of  resonance.53 

Of  all  the  teachers  thus  far  mentioned,  Murdoch  was  the  one  most 
interested  in  quality  as  an  aspect  of  speech.  He  was  eager  to  improve 
the  quality  of  his  own  speech  so  that  he  could  successfully  interpret 
roles  in  both  comedy  and  tragedy.  As  a  result  of  this  interest,  he  ana- 
lyzed the  voices  of  the  actors  he  knew  and  observed  many  interesting 
vocal  characteristics.  For  example,  he  observed  in  some  voices  a  "vocal 
catch  in  the  glottis."  He  attributes  this  peculiarity  of  speech  to  English 
actors,  specifically  Garrick,  who  may  have  imitated  King  George  III, 
and  was  in  turn  imitated  by  Kean  whose  speech  was  then  copied  by 
McCready  and  Forrest.  He  describes  it  as  follows: 

...  a  sudden  catch  of  the  glottis,  which  causes  a  short  cough-like  sound,  to 
be  heard  previous  to  the  articulative  movement  of  the  voice. . .  .  This  pecu- 
liar organic  act  is  the  result  of  a  dropping  of  the  jaw  and  consequent  depres- 
sion of  the  larynx;  it  gives  strength  to  the  muscles  which  are  called  into  play 
and  control  the  organs  of  vocality,  thus  enabling  the  speaker  to  execute  that 
abrupt  movement  by  which  he  expels  the  vowel-sound  from  what  may  be 
called  the  cavernous  parts  of  the  mouth,  that  space  which  includes  the  roots 
of  the  tongue,  the  glottis,  and  pharynx.  This  deeply-aspirated  quality  of  "the 
voice  is  a  strong  element  of  expressive  utterance  of  passionate  language  in 
the  drama.54 

The  description  suggests  the  characteristic  of  the  voice  which  Rush 
termed  abruptness,  a  term  obviously  devised  to  describe  the  stage 
speech  then  in  vogue  but  later  discarded. 

Murdoch  saw  a  close  relationship  between  breath  control  and  vocal 
quality.  He  explained  very  clearly  the  action  of  the  diaphragm  as  "the 
bellows  of  the  vocal  organs,"  and  used  the  terms  effusive,  expulsive,  and 
explosive  to  designate  the  three  forms  of  expiration.  "The  effusive 
breath  may  be  said  to  flow,  the  expulsive  to  rush,  and  the  explosive  to 
burst  into  the  outer  air.  These  three  forms  of  breathing,  it  will  be  found, 
when  converted  into  vocality,  represent  the  three  forms  which  lan- 
guage assumes  in  its  varied  utterance  from  tranquility  to  passion/* 55 

In  A  Plea  for  Spoken  Language,  published  in  1883,  and  based  on  the 
lectures  which  Murdoch  had  given  on  elocution,  he  states  that  although 
elocutionists  through  a  period  of  fifty  years  were  indebted  to  Rush, 
his  principles  had  never  been  accepted  entirely,  and  hence  there  had 
been  no  uniformity  of  result.  He  speaks  also  of  the  "too  prevalent  idea 
on  the  part  of  school  authorities  that  elocution,  as  a  special  study,  is 
inexpedient;  or  worse  that  it  cannot  be  successfully  taught  in  connection 


with  the  multifarious  studies  of  the  schools." 56  Nevertheless,  Murdoch 
and  his  co-worker,  William  Russell,  did  much  to  popularize  the  Rush 
system,  and  their  influence  on  the  development  of  the  elocutionary 
movement  itself  is  immeasurable.  They  were  convinced  that  methods 
of  teaching  which  were  based  on  scientific  principles  were  in  accord 
with  nature  and,  therefore,  would  allow  the  student  to  develop  his  own 
characteristic  speech  and  develop  it  to  its  maximum  capacity. 

',;     vi 

The^c:ho01  of  ExPr®ssion,  incorporated  in  1888,  is  a  fine  example  of 
a  nineteenth-century  private  school  which  is  alive  today.  Its  founder, 
Samuel  Silas  Curry,  through  study  and  practice,  evolved  a  philosophy 
oPSocution'  which  had  a  firm  basis  in  psychology.  Although  he  at- 
tempted to  reconcile  theories  of  elocution  which  seem  to  be  con- 
tradictory, he  did  succeed  in  establishing  a  practical  and  effective 
method  of  teaching,  usually  known  as  the  "think~the-thought"  method. 
-Brr  Curry  was  born  in  1847  in  the  mountains  of  Tennessee.  He  was 
reared  in  a  strict,  religious  home  and  encouraged  to  prepare  for  the 
ministry.  Following  the  usual  pattern  of  education  for  the  ministry,  he 
studied  elocution  along  with  theology.  Since  Boston  University  was 
Curry's  choice  for  his  theological  training,  he  began  the  study  of  elocu- 
tion in  the  School  of  Oratory  under  Lewis  B.  Monroe,  a  student  of 
Delsarte.  In  1873,  Dr.  Alexander  Graham  Bell's  opening  lecture  at  the 
School  of  Oratory  stimulated  such  an  interest  in  the  science  of  the  voice 
that  Curry  decided  to  become  a  teacher  instead  of  a  preacher.  When 
Dean  Monroe  died  in  1879,  Curry,  who  had  completed  his  Masters 
degree  the  year  before,  was  asked  to  carry  on  the  work.  In  1880,  the 
University  conferred  the  Ph.D.  degree  upon  him;  in  1883  he  was  made 
Snow  Professor  of  Oratory,  and  in  this  capacity  organized  special 
classes  in  elocution.  Five  years  later,  the  trustees  allowed  him  to  organ- 
ize the  institution  which  was  called  the  School  of  Expression.  Mrs. 
Curry,  former  teacher  and  student  under  Monroe,  taught  with  him  and 
together  they  made  the  school  one  of  the  most  popular  in  the  country. 
Very  soon  the  School  of  Expression  offered  three  years  of  training  and 
an  additional  postgraduate  year.  Special  courses  were  given  for  clergy- 
men, teachers,  and  people  with  speech  defects  such  as  stammering.57 
Many  talented  students  attended  the  School  of  Expression;  not  a  small 
number  were  leaders  in  the  reinstatement  of  speech  in  the  college  and 
university  curriculum  in  the  early  part  of  the  twentieth  century. 

Of  the  elocutionists  studied,  Curry  was  perhaps  the  one  most  eager 
to  know  all  there  was  to  be  known  about  the  functioning  of  the  vocal 
mechanism  and  to  find  the  best  methods  of  teaching  students  to  use 


speech  effectively.  He  was  not  satisfied  with  any  method  then  in  use 
in  the  teaching  of  delivery.  He  sampled  them  all,  studying  with  many 
teachers  at  home  and  abroad.  In  England,  he  studied  with  Emil  Behnke 
and  Lenox  Brown;  in  France,  he  took  lessons  from  Regnier,  head  of  the 
National  School  of  Acting;  and  in  Italy  he  studied  with  Francesco 
Lamperti,  professor  of  singing  at  the  Milan  Conservatory.  Although  he 
was  critical  of  the  theories  of  Delsarte,  Curry  states  that  he  studied 
with  all  the  known  teachers  of  that  system.  In  the  United  States,  he 
studied  with  the  following:  Steele  MacKaje,  Alexander  Graham  Bell, 
Alexander  Melville  Bell,  and,  of  course,  mwis  B.  Monroe.58 

Because  he  had  been  exposed  to  so  many  different  kinds  of  instruc- 
tion, Curry's  theories  were  eclectic  and  his  writing  often  ambiguous. 
Altogether,  Curry  wrote  fourteen  books.  Province  of  Expression  and 
Foundations  of  Expression,  published  in  1891  and  1907,59  set  forth 
his  philosophy  as  clearly  as  any  of  his  writings.  There  is  much  repetition 
and  elaboration  of  idea  in  all  of  them.  Although  little  credit  is  given  to 
the  contemporary  psychologists,  their  influence  is  marked.  Curry's 
greatest  emphasis  was  upon  an  active,  trained  mind  and  imagination. 
The  necessity  of  working  "within  outward,"  of  being  a  unified  person 
in  which  the  mind  stimulated  the  body  to  natural  expression,  and  the 
recognition  of  individual  differences  were  all  tenets  of  the  Curry  school. 
There  was  something  of  the  crusader  about  Dr.  Curry.  He  recognized 
the  weakness  of  elocutionary  training  as  he  observed  it  in  the  late 
nineteenth  century  and  he  proposed  to  reform  it.  He  articulated  the 
principle  that  elocution  should  be  primarily  a  training  of  the  mind  and 
the  development  of  an  ability  to  think  creatively. 

Curry  gave  credit  to  Rush  for  laying  the  scientific  foundation  for  the 
study  of  the  voice  but  contended  that  at  least  half  of  his  system  was 
useless.  Rush  made  no  distinction  between  the  normal  and  abnormal, 
he  said,  and  did  not  distinguish  between  the  intentions  of  nature  and 
what  was  merely  a  bad  habit: 

Still  he  did  analyze  correctly  the  length  of  inflections,  and  while  his  "shock 
of  the  glottis"  is  wrong  and  has  been  given  up  by  the  best  teachers,  yet  that 
there  is  a  stress  in  the  speaking  voice,  a  radical  and  vanish  different  from  the 
singing  voice,  was  clearly  shown  by  him.  Teaching,  as  he  did,  the  importance 
of  analyzing  into  its  fundamental  nature  the  speaking  voice,  the  special  incor- 
rect physical  action  in  faults  has  been  found  and  a  more  radical  treatment  of 
defects  made  possible.  The  elements  of  melody  having  been  partly  explained, 
men  have  been  set  to  observe  more  carefully  the  phenomena  of  speech;  so 
that  Rush's  system  has  indirectly  rendered  important  service  in  unfolding 
knowledge  which  must  be  understood  in  improving  delivery.60 

The  followers  of  Rush  used  teaching  methods  which  Curry  found  to 
be  too  unrepresentative  and  imitative.  Some  of  the  faults  he  found  most 


distressing  and  contradictory  to  nature  were:  all  action  was  merely 
gesture,  grammatical  structure  dictated  pauses  and  often  inflections, 
and  delivery  revealed  a  lack  of  freedom  and  originality.  Curry  ob- 
served that  mechanical  methods  had  been  tried  and  found  wanting, 
most  clergymen  and  actors  having  discarded  the  Rush  system  as  too 
artificial  and  conventional.  However,  public  readers,  he  stated,  often 
exhibited  all  the  undesirable  characteristics  of  the  student  trained  in 
this  school.  They  showed  no  signs  of  "mental  assimilation  of  the  char- 
acter," no  indication  of  "dramatic  instinct"  but  merely  demonstrated 
elocutionary  tricks  of  the  throat  which  were  "untrue  to  nature."  61 

Murdoch  is  mentioned  by  Curry  as  a  good  example  of  the  mechanical 
school  which  was  based  upon  Rush  principles.  Curry  criticized  him 
because  he  put  too  much  emphasis  upon  the  voice  and  because  he  con- 
cerned himself  with  the  artificial  tones :  orotund,  guttural,  and  aspirate. 
Examples  are  taken  from  Murdoch's  textbook,  Analytic  Elocution,  to 
illustrate  the  methods  to  which  Curry  objected.  Murdoch's  direction  for 
reading  the  line,  "Come  back,  come  back,  Horatius,"  states  that  it  must 
be  read  with  a  rising,  discreet  third.  According  to  Curry,  the  sentence 
could  be  read  in  fifty  different  ways  but  the  one  chosen  is  the  most 
foreign  to  the  meaning.  "It  could  only  be  read  so,"  he  says,  "when  a 
man  is  trying  to  carry  out  a  'system'  which  is  to  him  greater  than 
nature."  62 

From  a  close  study  of  Murdoch's  theories  of  elocution,  it  is  obvious 
that  he  too  was  interested  in  following  nature.  He  was  devoted  to  the 
Rush  system  not  because  of  its  mechanical  aspects,  but  because  he 
thought  it  gave  him  a  firm  scientific  base  from  which  to  work  to 
develop  a  natural  delivery. 

Curry  did  not  approve  of  Whately's  method  and  stated  that  the 
purely  natural  method  could  not  work  unless  the  student  had  normal 
speech.  Whately's  influence  was  detrimental  to  good  speaking,  accord- 
ing to  Curry,  and  had  encouraged  the  speaker  to  follow  wild  impulses 
thus  "reducing  all  oratorical  delivery  to  chaos."  The  indirect  results  of 
Whately's  work,  however,  Curry  thought  helpful  because  he  criticized 
the  artificial  methods  and  emphasized  the  importance  of  not  placing 
the  mind  on  "mere  modes  of  delivery."  63 

The  Delsarte  System,  Curry  characterized  as  too  artificial  and  specu- 
lative: it  was  not  founded  upon  nature  but  was  an  attempt  to  "place 
upon  nature  a  pre-conceived  artificial  conception."  Whereas  Murdoch 
held  that  pantomime  should  be  in  the  background  so  that  the  voice 
could  predominate,  Curry  states  that  Delsarte  gave  pantomime  the 
most  important  place.  "Neither  is  right,"  says  Curry.  "The  great  center 
of  consciousness  must  be  upon  thought  and  action  of  the  mind,  and 
these  two  natural  languages  voice  and  action  having  a  great  element 


of  spontaneity,  must  not  be  brought  too  much  into  the  foreground  of 

consciousness/' 64 

On  the  other  hand,  Curry  praised  Delsarte  as  the  most  original  in- 
vestigator of  the  century  and  listed  those  parts  of  his  theory  which  he 
had  found  helpful  in  evolving  his  own  philosophy  of  speech.  He  makes 
special  mention  of;  the  preliminary  training  or  the  attuning  of  the  whole 
body,  the  fact  that  Delsartian  methods  were  always  based  upon  prin- 
ciples, the  belief  that  pantomime  belonged  to  the  whole  body  and  was 
not  restricted  to  gesture,  and  finally,  the  theory  that  there  is  an  inter- 
relationship of  "co-existent  and  co-essential  elements/* 65 

Because  of  the  association  of  the  word  elocution  with  the  training 
and  theories  Curry  found  unsatisfactory,  he  used  the  word  expression 
instead.  To  him  it  was  a  much  bigger  and  more  meaningful  word.  One 
cannot  help  wishing  that  he  might  have  reinstated  the  original  word 
elocution  with  its  proper  connotation.  Yet  the  word  expression  he  did 
use  in  a  special  way  to  indicate  his  philosophy  of  speech  training.  He 
defines  it  thus:  "Expression  implies  cause,  means,  and  effect.  It  is  a 
natural  effect  of  a  natural  cause,  and  hence  is  governed  by  all  the  laws 
of  nature's  processes.  The  cause  is  in  the  mind,  the  means  are  the  voice 
and  the  body/5  66 

From  his  wide  background  of  experience,  Curry  articulated  a  philoso- 
phy of  speech  which  resembled  that  of  the  first  teacher  mentioned, 
Ebenezer  Porter.  But  because  of  his  vantage  point  in  the  century,  he 
was  able  to  go  beyond  any  of  the  others  in  charting  methods  of  instruc- 
tion which  would  be  effective.  His  methods  were  eclectic  and  repre- 
sented a  culmination  of  the  work  of  many  conscientious,  enthusiastic, 
and  progressive  elocutionists.  Curry's  belief  that  man  must  function  as 
a  unified  whole  made  it  impossible  in  good  delivery  for  the  voice  to 
overbalance  the  action,  or  for  the  outward  expression  to  be  detached 
from  the  mental  analysis  of  the  material  to  be  read.  Communicating 
one  s  thoughts  and  feelings  implied  for  Curry  merely  the  deepening  of 
natural  processes.  Following  James'  psychology,  he  stated  that  thinking 
consisted  of  first,  concentration  upon  one  point,  and  second,  a  leap  of 
the  mind  to  another  point.  Thus  the  need  for  training  in  making  transi- 
tions and  in  using  the  pause  effectively.67 

While  all  of  the  older  elocutionists  mentioned  in  this  chapter  stressed 
the  need  for  thought  and  feeling  in  the  interpretation  of  literature, 
Curry  was  the  first  one  to  devise  exercises  for  mental  training  as  a  nec- 
essary part  of  the  teaching  program.  Training  the  mind,  according  to 
Curry,  should  supersede  training  of  the  voice  and  body. 

Curry  believed  in  a  three-way  interactionism  between  mind,  voice, 
and  body.  Voice  and  action,  he  often  reiterated,  must  not  be  left  to  acci- 
dent but  be  developed  into  a  flexible  mechanism  which  will  ade- 


quately  express  the  mind  or  soul  of  the  speaker.  Vocal  training  he  care- 
fully distinguished  from  vocal  expression  as  the  "establishment  of 
normal  conditions  of  the  body  and  voice."  As  did  many  of  the  earlier 
teachers,  Curry  placed  great  emphasis  upon  proper  breathing  and 
breathing  exercises.  He  also  advocated  the  use  of  exclamations  for  prac- 
tice because  they  were  closely  associated  with  action  and  spontaneously 
established  natural  conditions  of  speaking  and  breathing.68 

Training  of  the  body  as  a  whole  was  one  of  Curry's  principles.  Ac- 
cording to  his  students,  he  devoted  some  time  to  gymnastic  exercises 
of  Delsartian  design.  The  "decomposing  exercises"  were  to  relax  the 
muscles  so  that  the  body  could  be  organized  around  a  center.  The 
principle  of  functioning  as  a  whole  was  never  disregarded,  and  the 
exercises  were  always  considered  merely  practice  to  enable  the  speaker 
to  respond  naturally  and  normally  to  mental  stimulation.69 

In  vocal  training,  the  term  tone-color  was  used  often  by  Curry;  he 
considered  it  very  important  and  difficult  to  attain.  He  defines  it  in 
Foundations  of  Expression  as  "the  modulation  of  the  overtones  of  the 
human  voice  by  imagination  and  feeling."  To  discover  the  presence  of 
tone-color,  Curry  suggests  that  the  student  read  two  very  different 
passages—one  didactic,  the  other  imaginative  and  sympathetic.  The 
difference  in  the  voice— its  pitch,  pause,  inflection,  and  especially  its 
quality— gives  the  reading  tone-color.70 

Curry  set  very  high  requirements  for  the  teacher— he  must  inspire  his 
students  as  well  as  train  them.  The  teacher  of  expression  should  be  an 
educated  man,  he  maintained,  because  he  must  be  able  to  "penetrate 
the  deepest  needs  of  his  students";  he  must  also  understand  "the  effect 
upon  the  personality  of  all  subjects."  71  His  breadth  of  culture  must  be 
practical— not  only  scientific  but  literary  and  artistic  as  well.  Without  a 
love  of  art  and  literature,  Curry  felt  it  would  be  impossible  for  the 
teacher  to  inspire  his  students  and  stimulate  the  creative  faculties  of 
their  minds.  From  all  evaluations  of  his  work,  Curry  seems  to  have 
measured  up  well  to  his  own  criteria. 


The  nineteenth-century  elocutionists  made  significant  contributions 
to  the  field  of  speech'educatioiu  As  a  group,  they  showed  an  amazing 
amount  of  vitality  and  originality,  As  teachers  and  theorists  they  fitted 
into  the  pattern  of  education  ^HcK  xesponded  to  the  increased  inter- 
est in  science,  emphasizing  first  the  physiological  and  later  the  psy- 
chological aspect  of»speedi*«Becau$e  of  their  efforts,  elocution  became 
a  part  of  the  educational  plan  which  enlarged  the  program  to  include 
practice  in  writipg  aacjf  speaking  English  in  addition  to  similar  courses 



in  the  classical  languages.  Later  in  the  century,  when,  because  of  its 
tendency  to  become  artificial  and  exhibitionary,  it  lost  its  place  in  the 
curricula  of  many  of  the  institutions  of  higher  learning,  the  study  of 
elocution  was  fostered  in  private  schools  by  teachers  like  Samuel  Silas 


Although  some  elocutionists  declared  the  subject  to  be  distinct  from 
the  study  of  rhetoric  and  more  closely  related  to  science  than  to  any 
other  subject,  rhetoricians  emphasized  delivery  during  this  century  as 
an  integral  part  of  speech-making.  The  orator,  lawyer,  minister,  and 
actor  were  all  concerned  with  and  characterized  by  their  manner  of 
speaking.  Since  the  speech  of  the  average  American  was  indistinctly 
articulated  and  his  taste  in  public  speakers  demanded  a  kind  of  exag- 
gerated and  florid  quality,  there  was  a  great  demand,  especially  during 
the  first  half  of  the  nineteenth  century,  for  elocutionary  training  in  both 
the  lower  schools  and  the  colleges.  Many  of  the  teachers  of  elocution 
were  not  on  the  regular  faculties  of  these  institutions  but  were  itinerant 
teachers.  Often  they  established  themselves  in  a  community  and  gave 
lessons  in  a  number  of  schools  in  the  area;  sometimes  they  started  pri~ 
vate  schools  of  speech.  From  their  writings,  it  appears  that  they  were 
interested  in  developing  a  science  of  speech,  in  correcting  speech 
defects,  in  isolating  the  speech  sounds,  and  in  developing  skills  in 
reading  and  speaking.  Later  teachers  have  produced  more  specialized 
books  in  these  same  areas,  but  the  early  textbook  writers  did  the  spade 
work  for  the  specialists. 

The  private  schools  multiplied  during  the  century.  Murdoch  and 
Russell  founded  the  School  of  Practical  Rhetoric  and  Oratory  (one  of 
the  first)  in  1844,  in  Boston.  Later  the  same  city  was  to  boast  three 
of  the  best-known  schools:  the  School  of  Expression,  Emerson  College 
of  Oratory,  and  the  Leland  Powers  School.  Charles  Wesley  Emerson 
founded  his  school  in  1891.  He  based  his  methods  of  vocal  training 
upon  the  four  stages  of  the  natural  development  of  the  mind:  the 
colossal,  the  melodramatic,  the  realistic,  and  the  suggestive.  Delsarte's 
methods  were  used  in  training  the  body.  Leland  Powers  was  a  student 
of  Dr.  Curry  and  subscribed  to  his  methods  of  teaching.  In  Chicago 
there  were  three  equally  famous  schools:  Phillips  School  of  Oratory, 
Columbia  School  of  Expression,  and  the  School  of  Speech  of  North- 
western University  founded  by  Robert  McLean  Cumnock.  Arthur  E. 
Phillips  was  famous  for  his  use  of  natural  or  tone  drills—a  method 
based  upon  the  value  of  paraphrasing  for  a  clearer  understanding  of 
the  material  read.  Mention  should  also  be  made  of  the  Byron  King 
School  of  Oratory  in  Pittsburgh,  Pennsylvania,  which  was  established 
in  1888.  All  these  schools  deserve  special  credit  for  carrying  on  the 
study  of  elocution  and  other  phases  of  speech  training  when  the  edu- 



cational  institutions  took  little  responsibility  for  this  kind  of  education. 

Porter,  Barber,  Russell,  Murdoch,  and  Curry  were  leaders  in  the 
movement  to  make  the  study  of  vocal  delivery  an  important  part  of  edu- 
cation. They  defined  it  as  the  use  of  voice  and  action  to  interpret  ideas 
and  emotions  but  were  more  interested  in  the  development  of  the  voice 
than  in  any  other  aspect  of  the  speaking  situation.  Nevertheless,  these 
teachers  did  not  neglect  the  relationship  of  body  to  mind,  and  the 
importance  of  good  health  to  the  speaker. 

Following  the  example  of  the  English  elocutionists  and  lexicogra- 
phers, there  was  a  definite  emphasis  upon  individual  speech  sounds, 
and  articulation  exercises  were  the  usual  introduction  to  the  study  of 
elocution.  There  was  a  special  emphasis  on  the  analysis  of  vocal  quali- 
ties which  was  not  found  in  the  teaching  of  elocution  in  England. 

The  early  American  elocutionists  continued  the  study  of  inflection 
which  had  so  engrossed  the  teachers  and  writers  of  the  previous  cen- 
tury; yet  they  did  not  follow  the  theory  of  Walker  that  inflection  was 
always  related  to  grammatical  construction.  The  followers  of  Rush 
found  inflectional  changes  similar  to  pitch  changes  in  music  and  used 
many  musical  terms  to  describe  the  melody  and  cadences  of  speech. 
Notations  that  were  used  derived  from  musical  notations  and  were 
similar  to  those  used  by  Steele  in  Prosodia  Rationalis, 

The  most  influential  elocutionists,  if  they  can  be  selected  according 
to  the  popularity  of  their  textbooks,  believed  that  elocutionary  train- 
ing depended  upon  rules,  and  did  not  agree  with  Whately  that  all  rules 
were  inimical  to  spontaneous  and  emotionally  sensitive  speaking  and 
reading.  They  were  aware  of  the  two  extremes  in  the  theory  of  training 
and  tried  to  stay  between  the  two.  The  importance  of  understanding 
the  content  of  the  material  and  of  feeling  the  emotion  inherent  in  it, 
they  all  agreed,  was  of  first  importance,  but  the  vocal  mechanism  must 
be  so  disciplined  that  it  could  respond  properly. 

Although  the  private  school  of  elocution  was  destined  to  carry  most 
of  the  responsibility  for  this  kind  of  training  in  the  latter  part  of  the 
century,  the  teachers  themselves  transmitted  the  influence  of  the  early 
elocutionists  to  twentieth-century  speech  education  in  America.  For  ex- 
ample, Thomas  C.  Traeblood,  S.  S.  Hamill,  Robert  I.  Fulton,  and  John 
R.  Scott,  who  were  pioneers  in  founding  present-day  speech  depart- 
ments, were  all  students  of  James  E.  Murdoch.72  And  over  ten  thousand 
students  have  studied  in  the  Curry  School,  among  them  such  famous 
teachers  as:  Lee  Emerson  Bassett,  Smiley  Blanton,  Sara  Stinchfield 
Hawk,  Azubah  Latham,  and  Gertrude  Johnson. 

The  representative  elocutionists  considered  in  this  chapter  were 
agreed  that  an  art  must  rest  upon  a  science.  Although  ffiey  iised  differ- 
ent meffi&as/t&ey  were  all  working  to  perfect  a  delivery  that  would 


reveal  effectively  thought  and  emotion.  At  the  end  of  the  century, 
because  psychological  inquiries  had  made  mental  processes  clearer,  the 
method  of  "thinking-the-thought"  before  reading  became  the  most 
popular  method.  However,  it  is  not  the  only  one  that  persisted  in 
twentieth-century  teaching  of  delivery.  Many  of  the  theories,  methods, 
and  exercises  which  were  advanced  by  the  earlier  elocutionists  are  to 
be  found  in  modern  textbooks. 


1.  Henry  B.  Parkes,  The  American  Experience  (New  York,  1947),  pp.  149, 

2.  Henry  Steele  Comager,  The  American  Mind  (New  Haven,  1950),  p.  24. 

3.  Foster  R.  Dulles,  America  Learns  to  Play  (New  York,  1940),  pp.  110-111. 

4.  Warren  Guthrie,  "The  Development  of  Rhetorical  Theory  in  America,  1635- 
1850,"  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  Northwestern  University,  1940,  p.  244. 

5.  Thomas  E.  Coulton,  "Trends  in  Speech  Education  in  American  Colleges 
1835-1935,"  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  New  York  University,  1935,  pp.  70,  80. 

6.  William  Russell,  "Cultivation  of  the  Expressive  Faculties,"  American  Journal 
of  Education,  III  (1858),  58. 

7.  George  R.  MacMinn,  The  Theatre  of  the  Golden  Era  in  California  (Cald- 
well,  Ida.,  1941  ),ch.  I. 

8.  George  C.  D.  Odell,  Annals  of  the  New  York  Stage  (New  York,  1928),  IV, 

9.  Mary  Margaret  Robb,  Oral  Interpretation  of  Literature  in  American  Colleges 
and  Universities  (New  York,  1941),  pp.  131-132. 

10.  Ebenezer  Porter,  Analysis  of  Principles  of  Rhetorical  Delivery  as  Applied  in 
Reading  and  Speakmg  (Andover,  1836),  p.  1. 

11.  R.  Clyde  Yarbrough,  "Horniletical  Theory  and  Practice  o£  Ebenezer  Porter," 
unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  University  of  Iowa,  1942,  p.  140. 

12.  Porter,  Analysis,  p.  vii. 

13.  Ibid.,  pp.  23,  25. 

14.  Ibid.,  pp.  109-110. 

15.  Ibid.,  p.  viii. 

16.  Ibid.,  p.  x. 

17.  Ebenezer  Porter,  The  Rhetorical  Reader  (New  York,  1835),  pp.  28-38. 

18.  Porter,  Analysis,  p.  41. 

19.  Ibid.,  pp.  93,  103. 

20.  Jonathan  Barber,  Practical  Treatise  on  Gesture  (Cambridge,  1831)j  William 
Russell,  American  Elocutionist  (Boston,  1844),  p.  200. 

21.  Porter,  Analysis,  pp.  144-147. 

22.  Lyman  Matthews,  Memoir  of  the  Life  and  Character  of  Ebenezer  Porter, 
D.D.  (Boston,  1837),  p.  254. 

23.  Henry  K.  Rowe,  History  of  Andover  Theological  Seminary  (Newton,  Mass., 
1933),  p.  57. 

24.  General  Catalogue  of  the  Theological  Seminary,  Andover,  Massachusetts, 
1808-1908  (Boston,  1908),  pp.  4,  20. 

25.  Guthrie,  op.  cit,  p.  200. 

26.  North  American  Review,  XXIX  (1829),  38-67. 

27.  Barber,  Grammar  of  Elocution  (New  Haven,  1830),  pp.  13,  19. 

28.  James  Rush,  The  Philosophy  of  the  Human  Voice  (Philadelphia,  1833),  p. 

29.  James  E.  Murdoch,  A  Plea  for  Spoken  Language  (Cincinnati,  1883),  p.  101. 

30.  Barber,  Grammar,  pp.  17-18. 


31.  Frederick  W.  Haberman,  "The  Elocutionary  Movement  in  England,  1750- 
1850,"  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  Cornell,  1947,  p.  176. 

32.  Jonathan  Barber,  Exercises  in  Reading  and  Recitation  (York,  Pa.,  1825). 

33.  Barber,  Grammar,  pp.  125-126. 

34.  Ibid.,  p.  168. 

35.  Barber,  Strictures  on  Article  II  of  the  North  American  Review  for  July,  1829 
(New  Haven,  1829),  p.  9. 

36.  Henry  N.  Day,  Art  of  Elocution  (New  Haven,  1844),  Samuel  Gummere,  A 
Compendium  of  the  Principles  of  Elocution  on  the  Basis  of  Dr.  Rush's  Philosophy 
of  the  Human  Voice  (Philadelphia,  1857);  Dr.  E.  D.  North,  Practical  Speaking  as 
Taught  at  Yale  College  (New  Haven,  1846);  W.  Russell  and  J.  E.  Murdoch,  Or- 
thophony  (Boston,  1845),  George  Vanderhoff,  The  Art  of  Elocution  (New  York,  1847). 

37.  Dictionary  of  American  Biography  (New  York,  1935)  XVI,  250. 

38.  Russell,  "Cultivation  o£  the  Expressive  Qualities,"  Am.  J.  Ed.,  pp.  327-329. 

39.  Ibid.,  pp.  332-333. 

40.  Russell,  American  Elocutionist,,  4th  ed.  ( Boston,  1846 ) ,  p.  5. 

41.  See  "Cultivation  of  the  Expressive  Faculties,"  Am.  J.  Ed.,  pp.  333-334; 
Richard  Whately,  Elements  of  Rhetoric  (Boston,  1851);  J.  W.  S.  Hows,  Practical 
Elocutionist  (New  York,  1849). 

42.  Loc.  cit. 

43.  Murdoch,  Plea,  pp.  110-111. 

44.  Ibid.,  pp.  106,  108,  109. 

45.  Odell,  Annals,  VII,  6;  Roberta  Fluitt  White,  "The  Acting  Career  of  James 
Edward  Murdoch,"  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  Louisiana  State,  1945,  p.  36. 

46.  Odell,  Annals,  V,  144;  IX,  334-335;  XII,  342. 

47.  White,  pp.  105-108. 

48.  Mrs.  John  Drew,  "Autobiographical  Sketch  of  Mrs.  John  Drew,"  Scribners 
(November,  1899),  XXVI,  566-568. 

49.  Murdoch,  Stage,  pp.  43,  45. 

50.  Murdoch,  Analytic  Elocution  (Cincinnati,  1884),  p.  11. 

51.  Russell,  Orthophony,  pp.  17-29. 

52.  Rush,  Philosophy,  p.  162. 

53.  Murdoch,  Analytic  Elocution,  p.  10. 

54.  Murdoch,  Stage,  pp.  96-98. 

55.  Murdoch,  Analytic  Elocution,  pp.  12,  21. 

56.  Murdoch,  Plea,  pp.  9,  12. 

57.  Poems  by  S.  S.  Curry,  ed.  Nathan  Haskell  Dole  (Boston,  1922),  pp.  1-2. 

58.  Cyclopedia  of  American  Biography,  X,  160-161. 

59.  Samuel  Silas  Curry,  Province  of  Expression  (Boston,  1891);  Foundations 
of  Expression  (Boston,  1907). 

60.  Curry,  Province,  p.  325. 

61.  Ibid.,  pp.  310-325. 

62.  Ibid.,  p.  316. 

63.  Ibid.,  pp.  333-334. 

64.  Ibid.,  p.  350. 

65.  Ibid.,  p.  358. 

66.  Samuel  Silas  Curry,  Lessons  in  Vocal  Expression  (Boston,  1895),  p.  310. 

67.  Ibid.,  p.  19. 

68.  Curry,  Foundations,  p.  66. 

69.  M.  Oclo  Miller,  "The  Psychology  of  Dr.  S.  S.  Curry  as  Revealed  by  His 
Attitude  Toward  the  Mind-Body  Problem"  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  Uni- 
versity of  Iowa,  1929,  p.  41. 

70.  Curry,  Foundations,  p.  159. 

71.  Curry,  Province,  pp.  326,  418. 

72.  Thomas  C.  Trueblood,  "A  Chapter  on  the  Organization  of  College  Courses 
in  Public  Speaking,"  Quarterly  Journal  of  Speech  Education,  XII  (February,  1926), 

Steele  MacKaye  and  the 
Delsartian  Tradition 


The  work  of  Francois  Delsarte,  French  teacher  of  vocal  music  and 
operatic  acting  in  Paris  from  1839  until  1871,  was  of  great  significance 
in  speech  training  and  the  theatre  in  late  nineteenth-century  America, 
Although  Delsarte  was  never  in  the  United  States  and  never  published 
his  theories  in  any  form,  the  so-called  "Delsarte  System  of  Expression" 
was  probably  the  most  popular  method  of  speech  training  in  the  United 
States  during  the  thirty  years  from  1870  until  1900. 

In  spite  of  the  popularity  and  prominence  of  the  Delsarte  system,  no 
adequate  formulation  of  its  principles  and  practices  was  ever  made  and 
American  teachers  and  actors  were  left  largely  in  the  dark  regarding 
the  basic  principles  of  the  system.  Delsarte  himself  published  nothing 
in  his  own  name. 

Many  books  and  magazine  articles  were  written  during  the  thirty 
years  of  Delsarte's  popularity,  each  purporting  to  present  the  "true" 
Delsarte  system,  yet  none  of  these  ever  received  the  unqualified  support 
of  more  than  a  few  of  those  who  called  themselves  "Delsartians."  In  the 
two  decades  from  1880  to  1900  the  Delsarte  system  was  a  subject  of 
perennial  dispute,  as  witnessed  by  the  large  number  of  articles  defend- 
ing and  attacking  the  system  that  appeared  in  Werner's  Magazine,  the 
leading  speech  publication  of  the  period,  and  the  numerous  speeches 
pro  and  con  as  reported  in  the  Proceedings  of  the  National  Association 
of  Elocutionists* 

In  the  absence  of  any  authoritative  statement  of  the  Delsarte  system, 
it  was  inevitable  that  the  system  should  be  siezed  upon,  expanded  and 
distorted  to  almost  absurd  lengths.  Charles  Bickford,  writing  in  The 
Voice?  commented: 

Breathing  exercises,  as  old  as-well,  as  old  as  I  am,-the  Worcester  and  Web- 
ster "Key  to  Pronunciation,"  Guilmette  contortions,  light  gymnastics,  numer- 
ous systems  of  useful  and  ever  popular  calisthenics,  Dr.  Rush's  theories,  les- 



sons  from  Murdoch  and  Russell,  stage  tricks  and  traditions  which  have  been 
handed  down  for  generations,  and  a  thousand  other  things  in  heaven  and 
earth  not  dreamt  of  in  Delsarte's  philosophy,  have  been  tied  on  and  sailed 
up  on  the  tail  of  the  dear  old  Frenchman's  kite  as  if  they  belonged  to  it.2 

The  dilettantism  which  afflicted  the  system  was  well  expressed  by  L.  P. 
writing  in  "Letter  Box"  in  The  Voice: 

I  was  interested  in  John  Howard's  remarks  upon  the  Delsarte  method,  for  I 
confess  I  do  "leave  the  pages  of  the  Delsarte  method  with  a  puzzled  and  dubi- 
ous countenance,"  and  wish  that  it  could  be  simplified  in  some  way.  I  have 
finally  persuaded  my  husband  to  allow  me  to  teach  it  as  I  enjoy  the  "art," 
and  it  is  a  great  source  of  amusement  to  me,  and  so  much  more  satisfactory 
than  afternoon  tea-parties  or  church-fairs.3 

In  commenting  on  the  teaching  of  the  Delsarte  system  at  Chautauqua, 
New  York,  by  Mrs.  Emily  Bishop,  Elsie  M.  Wilbor  wrote,  "As  presented 
there,  the  system  is  on  a  plane  with  the  Swedish  or  any  other  purely 
gymnastic  drill . . .  ,"  and  commented  later  in  the  same  article,  "One 
point  on  which  I  take  issue  with  Mrs.  Bishop  is  her  statement  that  Del- 
sarte work  reduces  flesh,  but  will  not  make  it. . .  "  4  Here  the  Delsarte 
system  had  become  a  reducing  method;  the  April,  1889,  issue  of 
Werners  Voice  Magazine  and  several  subsequent  issues,  carried  an 
advertisement  for  "The  Delsarte  corset"! 

In  this  welter  of  unauthorized  books,  misunderstandings,  distortions, 
and  quackeries,  only  one  man  was  considered  able  to  give  an  adequate 
formulation  of  Delsarte's  principles.  The  man  was  Steele  MacKaye,  the 
man  who  had  originally  introduced  the  Delsarte  theory  to  America. 
S.  S.  Curry  wrote  in  1891: 

Mr.  Steele  MacKaye  is  thoroughly  competent  to  give  to  the  world  an  outline 
of  the  system  of  Delsarte,  but  he  has  allowed  himself  to  be  engrossed  with 
other  things,  and  neglected  to  give  to  the  world  an  adequate  presentation  of 
the  method  of  the  master  who  so  loved  and  honored  him.5 

This  paper  deals  primarily  with  Steele  MacKaye,  the  introduction  of 
the  Delsarte  system  into  America  and  MacKaye's  contribution  to  the 
system;  secondarily  it  treats  of  other  early  figures  in  the  movement, 
chiefly  the  Rev.  William  R.  Alger,  Unitarian  minister,  and  Lewis  B. 
Monroe,  teacher,  and  the  most  influential  book  of  the  period,  Delsarte 
System  of  Oratory.  As  an  introduction  to  this  material,  a  brief  life  of 
Delsarte  and  a  summary  of  his  "system"  is  given. 


Frangois  Alexandre  Nicholas  Cheri  Delsarte  was  born  in  Solesme, 
France,  November  19,  1811. 6  Delsarte's  early  childhood  was  spent  in 
poverty  and  privation,  according  to  various  factual  and  fictional  biogra- 


pMes.7  At  the  age  of  nine,  he  and  his  younger  brother  were  taken  to 
Paris  by  his  mother,  where  she  and  the  brother  both  soon  died.  In  some 
way  Delsarte  became  acquainted  with  a  musician  by  the  name  of  Pere 
Bambini,  who  became  his  first  teacher.  Delsarte  also  studied  with  a 
M.  Deshayes  and  a  M.  Choron.  From  1826  to  1830  he  attended  the  Con- 
servatoire. He  sang  at  FOpera-Comique,  the  Ambigu,  and  the  Varietes, 
but  was  not  a  success  in  the  theatre.  He  later  became  choir  director  at  the 
church  of  the  Abbe  Chatel.8 

The  year  1839  is  given  as  the  date  when  Delsarte  opened  his  school, 
but  that  he  taught  before  this  date  is  indicated  in  the  biographies  of  two 
of  his  pupils,  Darcier  and  Hermann-Leon.  However,  it  is  probably  true 
that  he  did  not  open  a  school  formally  until  1839.  There  still  exists  a 
large  book  with  the  title  School  of  Moral  and  Scientific  Singing,  which 
contains  a  "constitution"  for  this  first  school,  and  considerable  material 
to  indicate  that  the  speculative  philosophy  on  which  the  system  was 
founded  was  well  advanced  and  the  basic  structure  completed  by  this 

Delsarte's  ability  as  a  teacher  was  praised  by  such  critics  as  W. 
Warner,  writing  in  L'Eclair,10  Escudier  in  La  France  Musicale^  and 
Jules  Janin  in  Journal  des  Debats.12 

An  examination  of  recently  available  material,  consisting  of  some 
material  in  Delsarte's  own  handwriting,  and  more  in  the  form  of  notes 
of  his  pupils,  reveals  some  rather  startling  things.13  First,  Delsarte  was 
not  a  speech  teacher  in  any  real  sense  of  the  word,  but  was,  primarily, 
a  teacher  of  instrumental  and  vocal  music  and  an  opera  coach.  In  his 
later  years,  he  seems  to  have  coached  some  legitimate  acting  and  to 
have  offered  instruction  to  clergymen.  Recitation  was  used,  but  only 
as  a  method  of  teaching  acting.  Second,  his  system  was  not  exactly  a 
system  of  teaching  either  speech  or  music,  but  was  a  pseudo-philosophy, 
claiming  to  be  a  science,  which  organized  all  arts  and  sciences  accord- 
ing to  a  plan  which  was  based,  in  essence,  on  orthodox  Catholic  doc- 
trine. In  a  period  in  which  science  was  pushing  forward  rapidly,  Del- 
sarte's "System'*  was  essentially  a  throwback  to  a  conservative  orthodox 
view  under  the  guise  of  being  a  science.  The  "science"  on  which  the 
system  is  founded  is,  however,  purely  speculative.  In  a  brief  summary 
of  the  system  written  by  MacKaye  in  French,  the  "science"  which  would 
reveal  the  fixed  laws  of  art  is  stated  as  "the  possession  of  a  criterion  of 
examination  against  which  no  fact  can  protest."  This  criterion  Delsarte 
found  in  the  Holy  Trinity.  All  tilings,  according  to  the  system,  show  a 
trinitary  organization.  For  example,  any  object  has  height,  width,  thick- 
ness; time  consists  of  past  time,  present  time,  future  time,  etc.: 

The  science  of  Mons.  Delsarte  consists  of  directing  the  light  of  this  criterion 
of  examination  on  all  things,  and  in  virtue  of  this  idea  of  the  trinity,  to  dis- 


cover  their  intimate  (interior)  organization,  and  to  explain  the  raison  d'etre 
of  their  external  products.  On  this  examination  and  on  the  science  thus  estab- 
lished, he  bases  all  his  art.14 

By  the  use  of  this  "system"  of  trinitary  division,  Delsarte  organized 
all  arts  and  sciences  into  an  educational  system  and  into  a  teaching 
method.  Specifically,  this  concept  was  applied  to  music,  particularly 
vocal  music,  and  acting,  the  arts  which  Delsarte  knew  best.  This  trini- 
tary division  arises  from  the  Holy  Trinity,  and  each  member  of  the  Holy 
Trinity  governs  one  of  the  elements  of  the  trinity  of  any  object  or 
idea.  Thus  man  is  divided  into  life,  mind,  and  soul.  These  are  governed 
respectively  by  the  Father,  the  Son,  and  the  Holy  Spirit.  Life,  mind,  and 
soul  are  expressed  by  certain  agents:  vocal  sound  (apart  from  words) 
expresses  life,  words  express  mind,  movement  expresses  soul.  This  con- 
cept of  movement  as  the  expression  of  soul  possibly  accounts  for  the 
emphasis  put  upon  gesture  and  pantomime  by  American  Delsartians. 
It  seems  unlikely  that  Delsarte  placed  any  more  emphasis  on  the  physi- 
cal aspects  of  his  system  than  on  the  vocal,  but  in  America,  the  physical 
aspects  became  the  basis  of  the  system  and  the  Delsarte  system  became, 
essentially,  a  system  of  physical  culture. 

By  another  principle,  the  "principe  du  circumincession,"  which  Curry 
translated  as  "principle  of  intertwining,"  the  body  expresses  not  only 
soul,  but,  to  a  degree,  both  life  and  mind.15  Thus  arises  the  familiar 
trinitary  division  of  the  zones  of  gesture  and  movement.  Each  of  these 
major  zones  is  divided  into  three  minor  zones,  making  in  all  nine  zones 
of  gesture.  In  addition  to  the  zones,  the  movements  of  the  body  express 
the  three  essences  of  being,  i.e.,  life,  mind,  and  soul. 

There  are  three  basic  forms  of  movement:  movement  about  a  center, 
called  normal,  which  is  vital  and  expresses  life;  movement  away  from 
a  center,  called  eccentric,  which  is  mental  and  expresses  mind;  move- 
ment toward  a  center,  called  concentric,  which  is  moral  and  expresses 
soul.  These  three  forms  of  movement  mutually  influence  each  other  and 
thus  give  rise  to  nine  forms,  normo-normal,  normo-eccentric,  normo- 
concentric,  eccentro-normal,  eccentro-eccentric,  eccentro-concentric, 
concentro-normal,  concentro-eccentric,  concentro-concentric.  The  forms 
of  movement  give  rise  to  nine  attitudes  or  states,  and  also  to  nine  inflec- 
tions or  movements.  All  gestures,  movements,  or  attitudes  may  be  classi- 
fied under  these  forms  and  each  gesture,  movement,  or  attitude  has  a 
special  significance. 

The  vocal  apparatus  is  also  triune,  and  each  element  of  the  trinity 
expresses  one  of  the  essences  of  being,  life,  mind,  or  soul.  Speech  arises 
from  three  agents:  the  inciting  agent,  the  lungs,  which  is  the  vital  or 
life  principle  of  sound;  the  resonating  agent,  the  mouth,  which  is  the 
intellectual  or  mind  principle  of  sound;  the  vibratory  agent,  the  larynx, 


which  is  the  moral  or  soul  principle  of  sound.  All  vocal  effects,  arising 
from  these  fundamental  agents  express  life,  mind,  or  soul,  and  may  be 
so  classified.  In  addition,  the  Delsarte  system  re-evaluates  language 
according  to  the  principle  of  the  trinity  and  assigns  degrees  of  value 
to  the  various  parts  of  speech  varying  from  one  to  nine, 

Delsarte's  "Cours  D'Esthetique  Appliquee"  seems  to  have  consisted  of 
a  series  of  public  lectures  and  demonstrations  on  his  theories,  and  a 
course  of  private  instruction.  The  public  lectures  were  generally  nine 
or  ten 16  in  number,  given  weekly,  and  seem  to  have  consisted  of  two 
parts,  a  lecture  on  some  aspect  of  the  system,  often  based  on  a  chart  or 
diagram,  and  a  practical  demonstration  by  pupils,  and,  at  times,  by 
Delsarte  himself.  Occasionally  after  the  lecture  there  was  a  discussion. 
Angelique  Arnaud,  writing  in  1882,  said: 

Some  years  before  his  death  Delsarte  substituted  for  his  concerts,  lectures 
in  which  he  explained  his  scientific  doctrines  and  his  philosophy  of  art.  He 
also  supplied  the  place  of  song  by  the  recitation  of  certain  fables  selected  from 
La  Fontaine.17 

In  a  lecture  delivered  before  the  Curry  School  of  Expression  in  Boston 
in  November,  1898,  Mrs.  Steele  MacKaye  described  the  morning  lessons 
in  much  the  same  terms; 

The  first  part  of  the  morning  was  given  to  the  exposition  of  philosophy-the 
explanation  of  some  theory,  or  chart After  the  exposition  came  the  prac- 
tical part:  the  recitation  of  a  fable,  a  scene  from  a  play,  or  perhaps  a  song, 
any  of  which  was  rendered  sometimes  by  a  pupil,  sometimes  by  Delsarte 

In  addition  to  these  lectures  or  lessons,  Delsarte  gave  individual 
instruction.  There  is  no  material  available  to  indicate  just  what 
happened  in  these  sessions,  which  were  held  daily,  but  presumably  Del- 
sarte taught  his  pupils  specific  songs  and  roles  and  worked  on  articula- 
tion, movement,  gesture,  etc.  Whether  Delsarte  used  any  kind  of  gym- 
nastic exercises  in  his  teaching  was  much  argued  later  by  American 
Delsartians.  The  scant  evidence  available  would  indicate  that  he  did 
not.  This  question  is  discussed  later  in  this  paper. 


A  recent  study  of  Delsarte's  pupils  has  revealed  that  of  fifty-four 
who  can  be  classified,  twenty-two  were  singers,  twelve  were  instru- 
mentalists, seven  were  actors,  five  were  writers,  four  were  composers, 
two  were  lawyers  and  three  were  painters.19  Some  of  these  pupils  were 
well  known;  others  are  merely  names.  Of  the  entire  list  of  pupils,  only 
one,  Steele  MacKaye,  is  definitely  known  to  be  an  American.20 


James  Steele  MacKaye,  playwright,  actor,  director,  and  theatre  in- 
ventor, was  born  in  Buffalo,  New  York,  on  June  6,  1842. 21  He  first 
studied  painting,  but  eventually  decided  on  the  theatre  as  a  career.  In 
preparation  for  this  career,  MacKaye  decided  to  study  acting  in  Paris. 
He  went  to  Paris  with  the  intention  of  studying  at  the  Conservatoire, 
but  was  persuaded  to  study  with  M.  Delsarte  instead. 

MacKaye  began  his  studies  in  October,  1869,  and  lessons  continued 
daily  until  July,  1870. 22  So  rapid  was  MacKaye's  progress,  so  quickly 
did  he  grasp  the  essentials  of  the  system,  and  so  brilliantly  did  he  apply 
his  knowledge,  that  after  a  few  months  he  was  accepted  as  a  co-worker 
as  well  as  a  pupil  and  began  doing  a  part  of  the  teaching: 

. . .  within  five  months  of  their  first  meeting,  at  Delsarte's  own  desire  and  re- 
quest, Mr.  MacKaye  was  himself  lecturing  and  teaching  in  Delsarte's  Cours, 
with  a  success  which  aroused  as  much  enthusiasm  as  astonishment  in  Del- 
sarte's "lovable,  loving  and  generous  nature."  23 

Clearly  Delsarte  considered  MacKaye  a  brilliant  pupil  and  thus  was 
established  a  close  and  significant  relationship  of  disciple  and  master— 
a  relationship  understood  and  appreciated  by  both  parties.  MacKaye 
became  Delsarte's  chosen  successor— the  son  who  was  to  carry  on  the 
work  of  the  master.24 

This  close  relationship  was  abruptly  terminated  by  the  chaos  of  the 
Franco-Prussian  war  of  1871  and  the  resulting  siege  of  Paris— a  chaos 
which  drove  MacKaye  back  to  America  and  Delsarte  into  refuge  in  his 
native  village  of  Solesme  where  he  lived  in  dire  poverty  on  the  charity 
of  a  cousin.25  MacKaye,  returning  to  America  fired  with  enthusiasm  for 
the  Delsarte  system,  immediately  began  making  plans  for  the  intro- 
duction of  the  Delsarte  system  into  America.  Very  shortly,  however, 
word  reached  him  of  Delsarte's  destitute  condition.  Two  new  friends, 
Rev.  William  R.  Alger  (the  biographer  of  Edwin  Forrest)  and  Prof. 
Lewis  B.  Monroe  (Dean  of  the  School  of  Oratory  of  Boston  University) 
suggested  to  MacKaye  that  he  give  a  lecture  on  Delsarte,  the  proceeds 
of  which  would  go  to  Delsarte's  relief.26  MacKaye  accepted  this  sug- 
gestion with  typical  enthusiasm  and  immediately  set  about  preparing 
the  lecture  and  arranging  for  its  presentation.  At  the  same  time  Mac- 
Kaye and  his  friends  thought  of  bringing  Delsarte  to  America  to  found 
a  great  school  of  art  similar  to  his  school  in  Paris. 

On  March  21,  1871,  MacKaye  delivered  at  the  St.  James  Hotel,  Bos- 
ton, his  first  lecture  on  Delsarte.  This  was  the  first  time  that  the  name 
and  system  of  Francois  Delsarte  was  presented  to  the  American  pub- 
lic.27 In  April  the  lecture  was  twice  repeated  in  Boston  at  the  Tremont 
Temple  to  large  audiences  and  was  given  at  Harvard  University  on 
April  21,  1871,  with  Henry  W.  Longfellow  as  the  chairman.28  Later, 


MacKaye  lectured  at  Steinway  Hall  in  New  York  twice  in  April  and 
several  times  in  May.  He  also  lectured  in  Brooklyn  at  the  invitation  of 
Henry  Ward  Beecher.29 

Thus  MacKaye  spread  the  gospel  of  Delsarte.  These  lectures,  and  the 
impress  of  MacKaye's  vivid  personality,  evidently  made  a  profound 
impression,  and  the  scheme  for  bringing  Delsarte  to  America  neared 

In  the  interim,  Rev.  Alger  had  gone  abroad  intending  to  see  Del- 
sarte. He  was  never  to  carry  out  this  intention,  however,  for  Delsarte 
died  July  22,  1871,  before  Alger  reached  Paris.30  With  Delsarte  s  death 
the  great  incentive  was  gone,  and  the  plan  for  an  American  "Cours 
D'Esthetique  Appliquee"  lost  its  vital  force. 

MacKaye  lectured  widely  in  the  ensuing  years.  There  is  record  of 
many  lectures;  many  have  been  unreported.  During  the  autumn  and 
winter  of  1874,  MacKaye  was  on  an  extensive  lecture  tour  under  the 
aegis  of  James  Redpath.31  He  had  an  engagement  of  twenty  nights  in 
Boston  alone.  Undoubtedly,  Monroe  and  Alger  were  instrumental  in 
setting  up  this  series.  Nine  of  these  lectures  were  given  under  the  gen- 
eral heading  "Philosophy  of  Emotion  and  Its  Expression."  The  lectures 
were  listed  as  follows: 

I.  The  Mystery  of  Emotion 
II.  Gesture  As  a  Language 

III.  The  Philosophy  of  Laughter 

IV.  The  Mystic  Law  of  Beauty 

V.  The  Marvels  of  the  Human  Face  and  Hand 
VI.  Nature's  Art 
VII.  Masks  and  Faces  of  Society 
VIII.  The  Emotional  Significance  of  the  Serpent 
IX.  The  Philosophy  of  Love  32 

For  several  months  MacKaye  appeared  before  audiences  in  many  cities 
from  Maine  to  Pennsylvania.  Later  in  the  winter  he  also  seems  to  have 
lectured  in  the  Middle  West.33 

In  the  spring  of  1877,  MacKaye  established  a  school  of  expression  at 
23  Union  Square,  New  York  City.34  Beginning  on  January  10  of  the 
same  year,  he  delivered  a  series  of  lectures  on  the  Delsarte  system  at 
the  studio  of  Mrs.  George  Hall,  33  East  17th  Street,  New  York  City.35 
Presumably  Mrs.  Hall  was  a  teacher  of  elocution.  The  lectures  were 
given  at  four  o'clock  in  the  afternoon.  Some  twenty-three  of  these  lec- 
tures have  been  preserved  in  manuscript.  There  were  at  least  thirty-four 
lectures  delivered,  as  the  last  preserved  manuscript  is  numbered  thirty- 
four,  although  by  its  nature  it  seems  not  to  be  a  concluding  or  final 
lecture.  These  lectures  bear  such  titles  as:  "Philosophy—Aim  of  Artist, 
Nature  of  Perception/'  etc.;  ''The  Trinities— Love,  Wisdom  and  Power"; 


"Feet—Primary  Expressions  and  Attitudes,"  etc.  The  manuscripts  give 
a  reasonably  clear  picture  of  MacKaye's  interpretation  of  the  Delsarte 
system  and  of  his  teaching  of  it. 

In  1878  MacKaye  presented  a  series  of  twelve  lectures  on  the  Philoso- 
phy of  Expression  in  the  Boston  School  of  Oratory  of  Boston  University 
of  which  Lewis  B.  Monroe  was  the  founder  and  Dean.  The  lectures 
were  attended  by  the  entire  school.  This  series  seems  to  have  been  the 
most  important  of  all  MacKaye's  lectures  for  they  seem  to  have  in- 
fluenced directly  the  teaching  of  elocution  or  expression.  Among  the 
students  in  attendance  were  S.  S.  Curry  and  Franklin  H.  Sargent,  the 
founder  of  the  American  Academy  of  Dramatic  Arts.  Many  years  later 
Sargent  wrote: 

...  I  took  rapid  notes,  filling  my  notebook,  and  when,  at  the  close,  Steele 
MacKaye  left  us,  I  found  myself  left  alone  in  the  hall,  meditating  on  the  pro- 
fundity of  his  discourse,  overflowing  for  me  with  revelations.  As  I  walked  in 
the  Dean's  private  office,  I  asked:  Prof.  Monroe,  what  is  this?  And  I  shall 
never  forget  the  patriarchal  old  man,  with  his  white  hair,  and  glowing  face, 
as  he  looked  up  at  me  and  said,  My  boy,  this  is  the  key  to  the  universe! 3G 

Echoes  of  these  lectures  appear  in  many  articles  in  Werners  Magazine. 
The  lectures  probably  did  more  to  set  the  pattern  of  Delsartism  than 
any  of  MacKaye's  other  writings  and  addresses. 

During  the  following  years  MacKaye  continued  to  instruct  private 
pupils  and  to  make  an  occasional  lecture  tour.  On  several  occasions  he 
attempted  to  found  a  school  similar  to  the  "Cours  D'Esthetique  Appli- 
quee,"  but  his  efforts  came  to  naught  as  other  interests  drew  him  away. 
He  also  planned  to  write  a  number  of  volumes  on  the  Delsarte  system,3  r 
but  aside  from  several  articles  in  Werners  Magazine 3S  nothing  was 
written,  or  at  least  published.  His  death  occurred  February  25,  1894. 39 

In  America  the  Delsarte  system  became  primarily  a  system  of  physi- 
cal training.  An  editorial  in  Werners  Voice  Magazine  in  December, 
1892,  commented:  "We  are  the  first  to  present  in  a  concise  and  compre- 
hensive manner  the  practical  workings,  as  well  as  the  theoretical 
principles,  of  the  various  systems  of  physical  culture,  including  the  Del- 
sarte, the  Swedish,  the  German,  the  Eclectic,  etc."  40  The  central  ele- 
ment of  the  Delsarte  training  lay  in  "harmonic  gymnastics,"  a  series  of 
exercises  of  which  relaxing  or  "decomposing"  exercises  seemed  to  be  the 
most  important.  It  seems  difficult  to  determine  whether  these  exercises 
were  a  part  of  the  system  as  taught  by  Delsarte  or  whether  they  were 
added  wholly  or  in  part  by  MacKaye.  In  an  early  lecture  MacKaye 
credited  Delsarte  with  a  system  of  exercises: 

Delsarte  has  an  adequate  background  for  the  basis  of  his  system.  His  long 
study  enables  him  to  extend  to  the  student  of  art  three  gifts,  "(1)  a  simple  but 
philosophical  and  effective  method  for  the  treatment  and  study  of  Ms  sub- 


ject,  (2)  a  profound  knowledge  of  the  aesthetics,  elements  and  principles  of 
his  art,  and  (3)  a  system  of  significant  exercises  which  will  develop  to  the 
utmost  his  executive  power  and  give  him  the  greatest  command  of  his  instru- 
ment." 41 

Later,  however,  MacKaye  claimed  credit  for  the  development  of  the 
exercises  and  insisted  that  they  were  not  a  part  of  the  system  as  taught 
by  Delsarte.  Writing  in  Werner's  Voice  Magazine  for  July,  1892,  Mrs. 
Steele  MacKaye  said;  "The  whole  system  of  aesthetic  or  harmonic  gym- 
nastics is,  from  the  first  word  to  the  last,  entirely  of  Mr.  MacKaye's 
invention/'  She  continued: 
...  In  his  first  lectures,  Mr.  MacKaye  never  dreamed  of  separately  cataloguing 

his  own  discoveries  or  inventions Such  of  Mr.  MacKaye's  discoveries  as  he 

was  able  to  show  Delsarte  were  glady  accepted  by  him,  as  supplementing  and 
developing  the  practical  side  of  his  own  work.  As  they  had  thus  become  a 
recognized  portion  of  the  methods  of  the  new  science  Mr,  MacKaye  was  so 
eager  to  introduce  ...  he  made  no  attempt  to  separate  his  own  contributions 
from  the  body  of  Delsarte's  work. 

But  Mr.  MacKaye  has  now  been  working  and  studying  for  20  years,  and  dur- 
ing that  time  he  has  been  constantly  developing  the  Science  and  the  Philos- 
ophy of  Expression;  at  the  same  time  building  up  and  perfecting  that  system 
of  psycho-physical  training  which  to-day,  under  the  name  of  Aesthetic  or 
Harmonic  Gymnastics,  forms  so  large  a  portion  of  the  practical  training  of 
the  "Delsarte  System,"  as  it  is  taught  in  classes  and  in  schools,  and  set  forth 
in  the  various  textbooks  now  published  on  the  subject. . .  .42 

In  his  claim  to  have  originated  "harmonic  gymnastics"  MacKaye  was 
supported  by  Mme.  Geraldy,  Delsarte  s  daughter.  "My  father  taught 
expression/'  she  said,  ". . .  he  did  not  teach  gymnastics.  I  do  not  say 
your  relaxing  exercises  and  posings  are  not  valuable,  for  I  believe  they 
may  be  for  certain  purposes;  but  I  do  say  that  my  father  did  not  teach 
them/' 4S  In  speaking  of  MacKaye  she  commented,  "But  he,  like  every- 
body else,  has  not  been  content  to  leave  Delsarte's  work  as  the  master 
left  it,  but  has  added  material  of  his  own  devising." 44 

On  the  otber  hand,  Rev.  W.  R.  Alger  stated  that  Delsarte  taught 
aesthetic  gymnastics  as  part  of  his  system.  Alger  himself  studied  with 
Gustave  Delsarte  during  the  year  following  ^he  death  of  the  elder 
Delsarte.  Alger  wrote  later: 

I  had  the  privilege  of  studying  with  him  [Gustave]  for  a  season.  Afterwards 
Mrs.  Henrietta  Russell  studied  with  him  for  a  year  or  more.  We  both  found 
that  he  taught,  as  imparted  to  him  by  his  father,  the  same  system  of  expres- 
sion, the  same  laws  and  rules,  the  same  gymnastic  training,  given  at  a  subse- 
quent date  by  Mr.  MacKaye  to  his  pupils,  and  still  later,  published  by  Miss 
Stebbins  in  her  books.45 

Later  in  the  same  article  Alger  commented,  "Steele  MacKaye  no  doubt 
has  corrected  some  errors  in  it,  developed  some  portions  of  it  further, 


made  some  additions  to  it,  and  improved  the  name  by  changing  it  from 
'aesthetic'  to  'harmonic/  "  Alger  gave  a  brief  description  of  these  exer- 
cises in  his  Life  of  Edwin  Forrest. 4Q 

The  weight  of  evidence,  however,  would  seem  to  support  MacKaye 
in  his  claims  for  inventing  harmonic  gymnastics.  MacKaye  accepted  the 
trinitary  concept  of  Delsarte,  and,  in  general,  the  whole  speculative 
philosophy,  but  being  less  profoundly  religious  than  Delsarte,  or  at 
least  not  Catholic  in  religion,  he  was  probably  less  interested  in  the 
philosophical  implications  than  in  the  practical  aspects.  Thus  MacKaye 
seems  to  be  responsible  for  the  emphasis  on  gesture  in  the  Delsarte  sys- 
tem as  taught  in  America,  although  Delsarte  System  of  Oratory,  dis- 
cussed later  in  this  paper,  also  contributed  heavily  to  that  end.  In  any 
event,  MacKaye's  failure  to  make  a  clear  and  unambiguous  statement 
about  the  system  and  his  own  contributions  to  it  contributed  to  the 
conversion  of  the  system  into  a  method  of  physical  culture. 

Delsarte  had  been  interested  primarily  in  the  training  of  singers.  Mac- 
Kaye was  interested  in  the  training  of  actors.  Only  in  the  hands  of 
pupils  of  MacKaye  and  of  pupils  of  his  pupils  was  the  system  applied 
to  "expression"  or  interpretation. 


The  part  Mr.  Steele  MacKaye  has  taken  in  developing  and  popularizing  the 
Delsarte  system  is  too  well  known  to  need  any  explanation  or  defense.  He, 
the  late  Prof.  Lewis  B.  Monroe,  and  the  Reverend  William  R.  Alger  were  the 
great  American  trio  to  whom  the  expressional  arts  owe  an  immense  debt  of 
gratitude.  They  are  the  founders  of  the  "new  elocution,"  and  were  in  the 
most  intimate  professional  and  personal  relations  with  Delsarte.47 

So  wrote  Edgar  S.  Werner  in  March  of  1892.  Of  this  trio,  only  Monroe 
was,  by  profession,  a  teacher.  As  a  young  man  Monroe  had  suffered 
from  poor  health  and  had  become  interested  in  physical  training.  From 
this  his  interest  had  spread  to  vocal  training.48  He  was  one  of  the 
founders  of  the  School  of  Oratory  of  Boston  University,  of  which  he 
later  became  Dean.  Among  his  pupils  here  were  Charles  Wesley  Emer- 
son, founder  of  the  Emerson  College  of  Oratory,49  S.  S.  Curry,  founder 
of  the  School  of  Expression  of  Boston,50  Franklin  Sargeant,  long  the 
director  of  the  American  Academy  of  Dramatic  Arts,  and  many  other 
prominent  leaders  in  the  elocution  movement.  Alexander  Graham  Bell 
was  a  teacher  in  this  school  under  Monroe's  sponsorship.51 

Monroe  published  a  book,  Vocal  and  Physical  Training.52  In  it  he 
stated  his  indebtedness  to  Rush  and  to  the  adaptation  of  Rush's  work 
by  Russell.  However,  the  book  also  advocated  a  system  of  vocal  and 
physical  exercises  to  be  taught  in  the  public  schools  that  would  train 


the  mind,  body,  and  soul  and  presented  a  system  modeled  after  the 
Gymnase  Triat  of  Paris.5  3 

MacKaye's  lectures  in  1877  had  markedly  influenced  Monroe,  but  his 
early  death,  in  July,  1879,  at  the  age  of  fifty-four,  deprived  the  elocu- 
tion movement  of  a  leader  who  might  well  have  prevented  some  of  the 
confusion  that  was  associated  with  Delsarte's  name.54 

Rev.  William  Rounseville  Alger  is  an  entirely  different  case.  As  a 
popular  Unitarian  minister  of  Boston,  Alger  was  drawn  to  Delsartism 
by  the  basic  Christian  philosophy  of  the  system,  although  how  a  Uni- 
tarian minister  was  able  to  reconcile  his  own  faith  with  a  philosophical 
system  so  obviously  Roman  Catholic  in  its  inception  is  difficult  to  see. 
Evidently  Alger  espoused  only  those  elements  of  the  system  that  would 
accord  with  his  own  religious  philosophy.  Fred  Winslow  Adams,  writ- 
ing in  Werners  Magazine,  says  of  Alger,  "He  speaks  of  Delsarte's 
aesthetic  gymnastics  as  'the  basis  of  a  new  religious  education,  destined 
to  perfect  the  children  of  men,  abolish  deformity,  sickness,  and  crime, 
and  redeem  the  earth!'"  55 

James  R.  Alger  was  born  in  1823.  As  a  boy  he  worked  on  a  farm  and 
at  other  occupations  chiefly  in  Boston.  He  entered  Pembroke  Academy 
at  Pembroke,  New  Hampshire,  and  at  the  age  of  twenty  entered  the 
theological  school  at  Harvard  University  from  which  he  was  graduated 
in  1847.  Upon  graduation  he  became  the  pastor  of  Mt.  Pleasant  Church, 
Roxbury,  where  he  remained  for  seven  years.  He  then  became  pastor 
of  the  Bulfmch  Street  Church,  where  he  remained  for  ten  years.  Be- 
cause of  poor  health  he  took  a  trip  abroad  in  1865,  and  on  his  return  he 
was  offered  the  pastorate  of  the  Music  Hall  society.  He  preached  there 
from  1868  until  1872.  In  1868  also  he  was  made  chaplain  of  the  Massa- 
chusetts House  of  Representatives.56  During  these  years,  Alger  had 
written  and  published  a  number  of  books.  They  were  chiefly  religious 
and  philosophical  pamphlets,  but  many  of  tibem  had  proved  popular. 
At  the  time  he  appears  in  the  Delsarte  story,  he  was  engaged  in  writing 
his  Life  of  Edwin  Forrest,  published  in  1877. 

Both  Monroe  and  Alger  had  become  interested  in  Delsarte  in  a  rather 
roundabout  way.  The  two  were  good  friends.  Alger  was  under  contract 
to  James  Oakes,  publisher,  and  friend  of  Forrest.  Oakes  received  a 
letter  from  the  French  correspondent,  Francis  Durivage,  full  of  enthu- 
siastic praise  of  Steele  MacKaye  and  of  Delsarte  and  his  philosophy. 
Monroe  and  Alger  were  so  impressed  with  the  letters  of  Durivage  that, 
when  MacKaye  returned  to  America,  they  made  a  special  trip  to  New 
York  to  see  him.  They  were  even  more  impressed  with  him  and  his 
teaching  than  they  had  expected  to  be  from  Durivage's  letters.  Both 
became  enthusiastic  followers  and  pupils  and  helped  to  stimulate  inter- 
est in  MacKaye's  first  lectures.  Alger,  after  a  short  period  of  study  with 


MacKaye,  went  to  Europe  with  the  intention  of  studying  with  Delsarte 
himself,  a  study  prevented  by  the  death  of  Delsarte.  Madame  Delsarte, 
however,  wrote  to  Alger  in  Vienna,  telling  of  her  husband's  death,  and 
adding,  "But  when  you  arrive  in  Paris,  our  oldest  son,  Gustave,  who 
inherits  much  of  his  father's  genius  and  all  of  his  traditions,  will  be 
quite  at  your  service/'57  Alger  accepted  this  offer  and  studied  with 
Gustave  Delsarte  the  better  part  of  a  year,  and,  presumably,  from  his 
studies  with  MacKaye  and  the  younger  Delsarte,  acquired  a  good 
understanding  of  the  Delsarte  philosophy. 

After  his  return  from  Paris  for  some  years  Alger  continued  to  preach 
and,  evidently,  teach  the  Delsarte  system.  He  lectured  at  various  times 
on  the  basic  philosophy  of  the  system.  In  the  final  years  of  the  nine- 
teenth century  he  lectured  at  Curry's  School  of  Expression  on  a  number 
of  occasions.  On  February  9,  1897,  he  spoke  on  the  "Nature,  Meaning, 
and  Laws  of  Rhythm  in  Experience  and  Expression,"  and  on  February 
16,  he  was  scheduled  to  lecture  on  "Eighteen  Forms  of  Emphasis."  In 
the  December,  1898,  issue  of  Expression  Magazine,  Curry  wrote: 

Rev.  William  R.  Alger  has  been  giving  a  course  of  six  lectures  to  the 
School  of  Expression  on  the  "Drama  of  the  Human  Face."  As  the  result  of 
years  of  investigation,  he  has  information  and  quotations  gathered  from  wide 
and  varied  sources.  He  gave  most  profound  and  philosophical  definitions  and 
discriminations  of  the  leading  phases  of  the  subject.  Some  of  his  definitions 
were  most  important.  He  carefully  distinguished  a  mask  from  a  face,  and  the 
expression  of  the  face  from  grimacery.  Among  the  most  forcible  parts  of  the 
lectures  were  the  illustrations  of  various  kinds  of  the  faces  which  Mr.  Alger 
has  noted  in  his  experience.58 

Among  the  special  courses  listed  in  the  School  of  Expression  in  the 
autumn  issue  of  the  Expression  Magazine  for  1899,  course  No.  6  was 
listed  as  follows: 

VI.  Rev.  William  R.  Alger,  the  distinguished  student  and  scholar,  will 
give  four  courses  in  the  afternoon  lectures  upon, 

1.  The  Philosophy  of  Human  Nature  in  the  Acquisition  of  Experience  and 
the  Command  of  Expression. 

2.  The  Ideal  of  Personal  Perfection  and  the  Method  and  the  Principles  of 
the  Physical,  Ethical  and  Aesthetic  Training  for  Its  Realization. 

3.  The  Varieties  of  Human  Character  in  All  Its  Types,  Critically  Studied, 
Defined,  Analyzed,  and  Illustrated. 

4.  The  Historic  and  Artistic  Evolution  of  the  Human  Voice  Considered  in 
Its  Successive  Stages,  Its  Mysteries,  Its  Social  Offices,  and  Its  Ideal  Perfec- 

And,  in  the  Winter  1899-1900  issue  of  the  same  magazine,  Alger's  name 
appeared  three  times  on  a  list  of  lectures  and  recitals: 

Oct.  26 A  lecture  on  "The  Work  of  Life  and  Its  Motives."  Rev.  William 

R.  Alger. 


Nov  11 A  lecture  on  "The  Seven  Fine  Arts."  Rev.  William  R.  Alger. 

Nov.  2,  9,  16,  28,  Dec.  5,  12,  19. ...  Lectures  on  "The  Philosophy  of  Hu- 
man Nature  in  the  Acquisition  of  Experience  and  the  Command  of  Expres- 
sion," Rev.  William  R.  Alger.60 

Some  fifteen  manuscripts  of  these  lectures  are  still  available  and  have 
been  the  subject  of  a  special  study.61  The  lectures  indicate  that  Alger 
had  accepted  the  trinitary  concept  as  originally  stated  by  Delsarte  and 
the  mechanical  aspects  arising  from  it,  but  there  is  a  strong  religious 
strain  running  through  all  his  work.  Price  commented  in  her  study  of 

The  basic  idea  running  through  these  lectures  is  that  all  heaven  and  earth, 
and  all  that  is  in  them  can  be  divided  into  the  trinity,  based  upon  the  Holy 
Trinity  of  God,  the  Father;  Jesus  Christ,  the  Son;  and  the  Holy  Ghost.  In 
man,  created  in  die  image  and  likeness  of  God,  the  trinity  is  manifest  as  life, 
mind,  and  soul,  or  the  vital,  mental  and  moral  realms 

Because  man  is  created  in  the  image  and  likeness  of  God,  it  should  be  his 
duty  to  develop  his  powers  to  the  highest  degree  possible.  He  should  always 
strive  for  perfection.  It  is  possible  for  man  to  attain  personal  perfection  if  he 
has  the  will  power  to  follow  a  rigorous  and  self -disciplinary  training 

Gaining  control  of  his  muscles  and  body  is  the  first  step  in  the  realization 
of  the  ideal  for  the  artist.  His  system  of  physical  culture  must  be  based  upon 
aesthetic  principles.  They  must  combine  mental,  bodily,  and  emotional 

Thus,  after  MacKaye's  other  interests  had  drawn  him  away  from  any 
serious  advocacy  of  the  Delsarte  system,  and  even  after  MacKaye's 
death,  Alger  carried  on  the  ideas  and  practices  of  the  Delsarte  system. 
He  was  the  last  important  advocate  of  the  system  as  he  had  been  one  of 
the  earlier.  He  died  February  7,  1905. 


The  first  and  by  far  the  most  important  of  the  many  books  dealing 
with  the  system  was  Delsarte  System  of  Oratory,  published  by  Edgar 
S.  Werner.  The  book,  essentially,  was  a  translation  of  notes  of  French 
pupils  of  Delsarte.  The  book  went  through  four  editions,  each  edition 
presenting  additional  material. 

L'Abbe  Delaumosne,  a  French  priest  who  had  studied  with  Delsarte, 
published,  in  1874,  the  notes  of  his  studies.63  The  little  book  was  en- 
titled Pratique  de  UArt  Oratoire  de  Delsarte.  It  was  translated  by 
Frances  A.  Shaw  and  printed  in  1882,  under  the  title  The  Art  of  Om- 
tory,  System  of  Delsarte  **  S.  S.  Curry  said  of  this  book: 

After  his  death  [Delsarte's],  a  priest,  who  had  studied  with  Delsarte,  pub- 
lished without  any  authority  whatever,  the  notes  he  had  taken  of  his  lessons. 
The  little  book  was  published  in  Paris  for  fifty  cents,  but  even  at  this  price, 


the  small  first  edition  was  not  sold,  a  poor  translation,  however,  by  one  who 
knew  nothing  of  Delsarte,  was  published  in  America,  and  sold  at  two  dollars 
a  volume,  greatly  to  the  financial  gain  of  the  publisher.  The  book  was  uni- 
versally condemned  by  everyone  who  knew  anything  of  Delsarte,  both  in 
France  and  in  this  country.  It  was  crude,  and  mis-represented  his  method.65 

A  comparison  of  the  French  original  and  the  translation,  however,  shows 
that  the  translation  was  a  satisfactory  one  and  that  Curry's  criticism  is 
not  entirely  justified.  That  the  book  misrepresented  the  Delsarte  sys- 
tem may  be  more  nearly  true.  I/ Abbe  Delaumosne  evidently  attended 
a  cours  planned  for  clergymen,  or,  at  any  rate,  he  took  notes  only  on 
those  aspects  of  the  system  that  applied  to  oratory.  There  is  no  men- 
tion of  music  and  little  reference  to  acting.  The  preface  opens  with 
these  words: 

Orators,  you  are  called  to  the  ministry  of  speech.  You  have  fixed  your 
choice  upon  the  pulpit,  the  bar,  the  tribune  or  the  stage.  You  will  become  one 
day,  preacher,  advocate,  lecturer  or  actor;  in  short,  you  desire  to  embrace  the 
orator's  career.66 

The  book  is  divided  into  three  parts:  Part  I,  covering  thirty-five  pages 
in  the  translation,  deals  with  voice;  Part  II,  containing  eighty  pages, 
treats"*oTgestiire;  Part  III,  with  thirty-three  pages,  discusses  articulate 
lan^iiage.^The  emphasis  on  gesture  is  obvious.  The  book  contains  such 
stanoSrd  items  from  the  Delsarte  system  as  the  medallion  of  inflection, 
the  nine  basic  attitudes  of  the  legs  [illustrated],  the  zones  of  gesture, 
etc.  The  material  was  undoubtedly  gleaned  from  Delsarte's  lectures  and 
attempts  by  American  Delsartians  to  discredit  it  in  favor  of  their  own 
theories  and  procedures  must  be  discounted.  This  volume  became  the 
first  edition  of  Delsarte  System  of  Oratory. 

The  second  edition  of  this  work,  published  in  1884,  added  to  the 
Delaumosne  notes  a  translation  of  notes  of  another  French  pupil  of 
Delsarte.  In  1882,  Angelique  Arnaud,  a  minor  French  writer  of  senti- 
mental novels,  published  in  Paris  a  volume  simply  entitled  Frangois 
Delsarte.67  The  book  was  in  two  parts.  The  first  part  presented  a  brief 
biography  while  the  second  part  discussed  the  philosophical  basis  of 
the  system.  It  was  this  second  part,  along  with  "The  Attributes  of  Rea- 
son," an  essay  by  Delsarte  himself,  that  was  added  to  the  original  Delau- 
mosne notes  and  published  under  the  title  of  Delsarte  System  of 
Oratory.  Arnaud's  material  is  discursive  and  rambling,  lacking  the 
mechanical  positiveness  of  the  Delaumosne  notes,  but  it  does  supple- 
ment heavily  the  philosophical  treatment.  This  second  edition  was  pub- 
lished in  1884.  A  third  edition  appeared  in  1887  which  added  the  bio- 
graphical section  of  Arnaud's  book  and  a  section  called  "Literary 
Remains  of  Frangois  Delsarte,"  a  translation  of  material  purportedly 


purchased  from  Madame  Delsarte.  This  material,  as  well  as  the  Arnaud 
book,  was  translated  by  Abby  L.  Alger,  daughter  of  Rev.  Alger.  The 
fourth  edition,  published  in  1892,  added  "The  Lecture  and  Lessons 
Given  by  Mme.  Marie  Geraldy  [Delsarte's  Daughter]  in  America,"  and 
some  miscellaneous  items. 

In  the  absence  of  any  published  material  from  MacKaye's  pen,  this 
book  remained  the  best  statement  of  Delsartism  and  it  had  consider- 
able authority.  Undoubtedly  it  did  more  than  any  other  to  fix  the  zones 
of  gesture  and  other  mechanical  details  of  the  system  in  the  minds  of 
American  teachers. 

There  were  many  other  books  on  the  Delsarte  system,  of  course.  Such 
books  as  Genevieve  Stebbins'  Delsarte  System  of  Dramatic  Expression 
and  her  Society  Gymnastics,  Anna  Morgan's  An  Hour  With  Delsarte, 
Emily  Bishop's  Self  Expression  and  Health:  Americanized  Delsarte 
Culture,  and  Moses  True  Brown's  The  Synthetic  Philosophy  of  Expres- 
sion were  widely  used  and  sold. 

The  system  finally  became  a  routine  mechanical  system  for  the  teach- 
ing of  the  expression  of  emotion  largely  through  gesture  and  body  posi- 
tion, accompanied  by  statue  posing,  tableaux,  etc.  By  1900  the  system 
was  largely  outmoded.  It  is  now  only  of  academic  interest.  Cl^artism 
had  its  value,  however,  in  the  interest  and  activity  stimulated  in  trie 
whole  field  of  speech,  and  out  of  the  vitriolic  arguments  as  to  the  mean- 
ing, interpretation  and  use  of  the  system,  there  tended  to  develop  a 
real  interest  in  speech  which  has  contributed,  in  some  measure,  to  a 
better  understanding  of  speech  training  everywhere. 


1.  Werner's  Magazine  was  founded  in  January,  1879,  under  the  name  The 
Voice  by  Edgar  S.  Werner.  In  January,  1889,  the  name  was  changed  to  Werner's 
Voice  Magazine,  and  in  January,  1893,  the  word  voice  was  dropped  and  the  journal 
became  Werners  Magazine  In  general  reference  in  this  article  the  journal  is  called 
Werner's  Magazine;  in  specific  citation  the  name  at  the  time  is  used. 

2.  Charles  Bickford,  "The  Delsarte  Delusion,"  The  Voice,  X  (November,  1888), 

3.  L.  P.,  "Letter  Box,"  The  Voice,  VI,  No.  1  (January,  1884),  16. 

4.  Elsie  M.  Wilbor,  "Chautauqua,"  Werner's  Voice  Magazine,  XII  (August, 
1890),  195. 

5.  S.  S.  Curry,  The  Province  of  Expression  (Boston,  1891),  p.  337. 

6.  J.  Weber,  Le  Temps,  August  1,  1871. 

7.  Francis  Durivage,  "Delsarte,"  The  Atlantic  Monthly,  XXVII  (May,  1871), 

8.  Le  Soir,  July  26,  1871. 

9.  George  A.  Neely,  "The  School  of  Delsarte:  Based  on  An  Original  Notebook/7 
unpublished  M.A,  thesis,  Louisiana  State,  1942. 

10.  W.  Warner,  "Publications  Musicales,"  L'ficlair,  August  28,  1839. 

11.  Escudier,  "Chefs  d'Oeuvre  Lyrigues  des  Anciens  Maitres,"  La  France  Musi- 
cole,  February  4,  1855. 


12.  Jules  Janm,  "La  Semaine  Dramatique,"  Journal  des  Debats,  August  8,  1853. 

13.  C.  L.  Shaver,  "The  Delsarte  System  of  Expression  as  Seen  Through  the 
Notes  of  Steele  MacKaye,"  unpublished  Ph.D.  dissertation,  Wisconsin,  1937.  See 
also:  Novalyne  Price,  "The  Delsarte  Philosophy  of  Expression  as  Seen  Through 
Certain  Manuscripts  of  the  Rev.  William  R.   Alger,"  unpublished  M.A.  thesis, 
Louisiana  State,  1941,  Virginia  Morris,  "The  Influence  of  Delsarte  in  America  as 
Revealed  Through  the  Lectures  of  Steele  MacKaye/*  unpublished  M.A.  thesis, 
Louisiana  State,  1941,  Edwin  Levy,  "Delsarte's  'Cours  D'Esthetique  AppliqueV, 
Based  on  an  Original  Notebook,"  unpublished  M.A.  thesis,  Louisiana  State,  1940, 
Neely,  op.  cit.;  Myra  White  Harang,  "The  Public  Career  of  Frangois  Delsarte," 
unpublished  M.A.  thesis,  Louisiana  State,  1945,  Rayda  Wallace  Dillport,   "The 
Pupils  of  Delsarte,"  unpublished  M.A.  thesis,  Louisiana  State,  1946. 

14.  Shaver,  "Delsarte  System,"  p.  41.  The  reader  may  wonder  if  there  is  any  con- 
nection between  Delsarte  and  Swedenborg.  There  may  be,  but  there  is  no  evidence 
of  such  connection.  Swedenborg's  name  does  not  appear  in  any  material  relating 
to  Delsarte.  Delsarte's  theories  seem  rather  to  arise  from  Catholic  doctrine  than 
from  the  philosophy  of  Swedenborg 

15.  Curry,  Province  of  Expression,  p.  344. 

16.  The  title  page  of  Alphonse  Paget's  notebook  states,  ". . .  Exposition  in  Nine 
Lessons  on  Art,  Oratory,  Painting  and  Music."  Cf.  Levy,  "Delsarte's  Cours  D'Esthe- 
tique  Appliquee."  Charles  Boissiere,  in  two  separate  articles  in  La  Reforme  Musicale 
( May  23, 1858  and  July  11,  1858)  indicates  that  the  course  consisted  of  ten  lessons. 

17.  Delsarte  System  of  Oratory,  206. 

18.  Percy  MacKaye,  Epoch:  The  Life  of  Steele  MacKaye,  2  vols.  (New  Yoik, 
1927),  I,  133-136.  For  a  similar  description  of  Delsarte's  "Cours,"  see  A.  Giraudet's 
letter  to  the  editor,  The  Voice,  VII  (January,  1885),  9-10. 

19.  Dillport,  Pupils  of  Delsarte. 

20.  One  of  MacKaye's  sisters  studied  singing  with  Delsarte    See  MacKaye, 
Epoch,  I,  134. 

21.  Epoch,  I,  37. 

22.  Epoch,  I,  135. 

23.  Epoch,  I,  135-136. 

24.  Epoch,  I,  134-135.  It  should  be  noted  that  Delsarte  had  several  children, 
two  of  whom  followed  in  his  footsteps.  His  daughter,  Marie,  later  Madame  Geraldy, 
visited  America  in  1892  where  she  lectured  and  taught  briefly.  His  son  Gustave 
taught  the  system  after  his  father's  death  until  his  own  death  in  1879. 

25.  Epoch,  I,  141-142. 

26.  Epoch,  I,  142. 

27.  Epoch,  I,  150-151. 

28.  Epoch,  I,  154. 

29.  Epoch,  Appendix  xli. 

30.  Le  Salut  Public,  July  23,  1871. 

31.  Epoch,  I,  228-232. 

32.  From  a  Redpath  circular  quoted  in  Epoch,  I,  231. 

33.  Epoch,  I,  263. 

34.  Epoch,  I,  266-267. 

35.  Morris,  Influence  of  Delsarte,  p.  26. 

36.  Epoch,  I,  190. 

37.  Epoch,  II,  267. 

38.  "Francois  Delsarte*'  (August,  1889),  p.  149;  "Expression  in  Nature  and  Ex- 
pression in  Art,"  a  series  of  four  articles,  April,  May,  June,  August,  1887. 

39.  Epoch,  II,  460. 

40.  Werners  Voice  Magazine,  XIV  (December,  1892),  373. 

41.  Morris,  Influence  of  Delsarte,  pp.  44-45. 

42.  Mrs.  Steele  MacKaye,  "Steele  MacKaye  and  Franc, ois  Delsarte,"  Werner's 
Voice  Magazine,  XIV  (July,  1892),  187  passim.  This  article  was  written  some  two 
years  before  MacKaye's  death  and  he  must  have  known  and  approved  of  its  state- 


ments.  See  Epoch,  II,  270.  Interestingly  enough,  a  footnote  on  page  271  states 
that  Rev.  Alger  approved  of  the  article. 

43.  E.  Miriam  Coyriere,  "Mme.  Geraldy's  Visit  to  America/*  Werner's  Voice 
Magazine,  XIV  (April,  1892),  103. 

44.  Ibid. 

45.  W.  R.  Alger,  "The  Aesthetic  'Gymnastics'  of  Delsarte,"  Werners  Magazine, 
XVI  (January,  1894),  4. 

46.  William  R.  Alger,  Life  of  Edwin  Forrest,  2  vols.  (Philadelphia,  1877),  II, 

47.  Werners  Voice  Magazine,  XIV  (March,  1892),  59. 

48.  Werners  Voice  Magazine,  XI  (September,  1889),  169. 

49.  Price,  Alger,  2. 

50.  S.  S.  Curry,  "Professor  Lewis  B.  Monroe,  Some  Characteristics  of  His  Teach- 
ing," Expression  Magazine,  I  ( December,  1896),  243. 

51.  Epoch,  I,  152. 

52.  (Philadelphia,  1869). 

53.  Ibid.,  7. 

54.  Werners  Voice  Magazine,  XI  (September,  1889),  170. 

55.  "William  Rounseville  Alger,"  Werners  Magazine,  XV  (March,  1893),  87. 

56.  This  summary  is  taken  from  Alger's  obituary  notice  in  the  Boston  Transcript, 
February  8,  1905. 

57.  Alger,  "The  Aesthetic  'Gymnastics*  of  Delsarte,"  Werner's  Magazine,  XVI 
(January,  1894),  3. 

58.  V,  216. 

59.  V,  371. 

60.  Appendix,  9. 

61.  Price,  Alger. 

62.  Ibid.,  119-122. 

63.  M.  L'Abbe  Delaumosne,  Pratique  de  VArt  Oratoire  de  Delsarte  (Paris, 

64.  The  Art  of  Oratory,  System  of  Delsarte,  tr.  Frances  A.  Shaw  (Albany,  N.  Y., 

65.  Curry,  Province  of  Expression,  335. 

66.  Shaw,  Art  of  Oratory,  preface. 

67.  Angeh'que  Arnaud,  Francois  Delsarte,  ses  Decouvertes  en  Esthetique,  sa 
Science,  sa  Methode  (Paris,  1882). 

JLU     Dr.  James  Rush 


In  examining  or  utilizing  Dr.  James  Rush's  contribution  to  speech 
education,  not  only  must  the  most  familiar  product  of  his  investigation, 
The  Philosophy  of  the  Human  Voice,1  be  scrutinized,  but  its  frame  of 
reference  should  be  appreciated.  While  Dr.  Rush  presented  a  detailed 
analysis  of  human  vocal  expression  which  since  his  day  has  set  the 
stage  for  much  that  has  been  superficial  in  the  teaching  of  speech,  his 
own  work  was  not  superficial;  it  was  based  to  a  considerable  extent  on 
philosophical  and  scientific  inquiry.  In  aiming  his  chief  research  to- 
wards a  sound  and  satisfactory  explanation  of  human  function  and 
physiology,  he  was  led  into  a  byway  which  captivated  his  attention  and 
led  him  to  elaborate  investigation  jofjhg  morejtangible  evidence  of 
flie  humanm  voice.  Thk 


to^the  field  of  speech  Americaj^first  comprehensive  organization  of 
vocalprinciples._The  scope  of  the  PhffosopT^^  and 

detailed  than  any  single  volume  written  on  the  subject  prior  to  its  first 
publication  in  1827.  The  thoroughness  of  the  book,  its  apparent  and 
immediate  usefulness  to  teachers,  made  Rush  a  recognized  authority 
in  the  discipline  of  elocution.  Unfortunately,  superficial  applications  of 
his  systematic  description  of  expressive  phenomena  were  drawn  from 
his  book.  They  bred  many  abridgements  and  abuses  of  his  basic  philo- 
sophical and  physiological  approach,  obscuring  and  distorting  his  more 
significant  and  profound  purpose.  Consequently,  appraisal  of  Rush's 
contribution  to  speech  education  is  often  colored  by  prejudice  and  pre- 
supposition. One's  bias  against  any  modern  mechanistic  technique 
which  seems  to  resemble  Rush's  vocal  analysis,  however,  must  be  iso- 
lated and  properly  evaluated  before  the  Philadelphian  can  receive  his 

ThePhilosophy  as,a  work  on  speech  is  Rush'^ffempt  to  apply  medi- 
cal scienceTffstt  w»  known  to  him,  to  the  analysis  of  human  behavior 
and  the  processes  of  neurological  control.  In  Rush,  medical  science  and 
speecR  come  together. 



The  political  freedom  established  by  our  nation's  great  leaders  in 
1776  was  only  one  aspect  of  the  emancipation  of  the  American  people. 
Perhaps  one  of  the  most  vital  influences  in  stimulating  fresh  points  of 
view  and  unprejudiced  thought  came  from  the  pen  of  Dr.  Benjamin 
Rush,  James  Rush's  father.  Physician-general  in  the  Continental  Army 
under  George  Washington,  signer  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence 
and  one  of  the  most  public-spirited  men  of  the  time,  Dr.  Benjamin  Rush 
wrote  voluminously  and  carefully  on  almost  every  subject  which  he 
wished  to  revolutionize.  He  wrote  so  defiantly  and  honestly  that  in 
later  years  it  became  politically  hazardous  for  his  son  Richard  Rush  to 
permit  the  publication  of  his  father's  autobiography.2 

Of  such  a  father  and  in  such  a  time  was  James  Rush  born  on  March 
15,  1786.  His  mother,  Julia  Stockton,  was  the  daughter  of  Richard 
Stockton,  also  a  signer  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence.  He  not  only 
inherited  the  energies  and  purpose  of  the  pioneer,  but  his  father  care- 
fully schooled  him  in  the  discipline  of  observation  and  scientific  inquiry. 
He  attended  the  College  of  New  Jersey  (Princeton),  receiving  his 
degree  in  1805.  By  1809  he  had  secured  the  M.  D.  degree  from  the  Uni- 
versity of  Pennsylvania.  His  father  then  financed  his  travel  abroad  and 
his  study  in  Edinburgh.  Throughout  the  years  of  his  formal  education, 
father  and  son  exchanged  many  letters— letters  which  vouch  for  the 
personality  and  promise  of  the  young  physician  whose  professional  life 
was  to  follow  in  the  shadow  of  his  father's  waning  popularity.  When  he 
graduated  from  the  University  of  Pennsylvania  his  dissertation  reflected 
the  qualities  of  mind  which  his  father  had  inculcated.  This  and  other 
early  efforts  brought  the  approval  of  many.3 

Dr.  James  Rush  was  honored  by  membership  in  many  honorary  socie- 
ties, including  the  Institute  de  France,  Academic  Royale  de  Sciences, 
Peithessophian  Society  of  Rutgers  College,  American  Philosophical 
Society  of  Philadelphia,  Rush  Medical  Society  of  Willoughby  Univer- 
sity, Peithessophian  Society  of  Theological  Seminary  of  New  Bruns- 
wick. The  hopes  of  a  father  for  a  son  were  being  fulfilled  in  the  achieve- 
ments of  James,  the  physician. 

While  leading  his  contemporaries  in  the  revolt  of  ideas,  Dr.  Benjamin 
Rush  wrote  on  many  subjects,  Among  these  was  that  of  the  mind  and 
its  diseases,  an  interest  which  the  son,  James,  soon  acquired.  Goodman 
has  identified  Benjamin  Rush  as  America's  first  psychiatrist,  and  the 
publication  of  his  Medical  Inquiries  and  Observations  upon  the  Disease 
of  the  Mind  was  until  1883  the  only  comprehensive  American  treatise 
on  the  subject4  Before  considering  the  diseases  of  the  mind,  he  first 
described  what  he  believed  to  be  its  faculties  and  operations: 

DR.   JAMES  RUSH  221 

Its  faculties  are:  understanding,  memory,  imagination,  passions,  the  prin- 
ciple of  faith,  will,  the  moral  faculty,  conscience,  and  the  sense  of  Deity. 

Its  principle  [sic]  operations,  after  sensation,  are  perception,  association, 
judgment,  reasoning  and  volition.  All  of  its  subordinate  operations,  which  are 
known  by  the  names  attention,  reflection,  contemplation,  wit,  consciousness 
and  the  like  are  nothing  but  modifications  of  the  five  principle  [sic]  opera- 
tions that  have  been  mentioned. 

The  faculties  of  the  mind  have  been  called,  very  happily,  internal  senses. 
They  resemble  the  external  senses  in  being  innate,  and  depending  wholly 
upon  bodily  impressions  to  produce  their  specific  operations.  These  impres- 
sions are  made  through  the  medium  of  the  external  senses.  As  well  might  we 
attempt  to  excite  thought  in  a  piece  of  marble  by  striking  it  with  our  hand, 
as  expect  to  produce  a  single  operation  of  the  mind  in  a  person  deprived  of 
the  external  senses  of  touch,  seeing,  hearing,  taste,  and  smell. 
. . .  the  mind  is  incapable  of  any  operations  independently  of  impressions 
communicated  to  it  through  the  medium  of  the  body.5 

While  in  Europe,  Dr.  James  Rush  became  acquainted  with  the  phi- 
losophy of  Dugald  Stewart 6  and  Lord  Bacon,  and  became  irritated  by 
the  speculations  of  metaphysicians.  Returning  to  America  in  1811,  he 
lectured  to  his  father's  classes  in  medical  school  at  the  University  of 
Pennsylvania.  The  essence  of  his  thinking  at  that  time  was  that  "reason- 
ing is  only  a  train  of  physical  perception"  and  "that  the  mind  in  its  out- 
line consisted  only  of  perception  and  memory."  7  He  made  notes  on  this 
subject  in  his  Commonplace  Book  of  Medicine  in  1818  under  the  title 
"The  Mind,  Its  Healthy  Functions,9' 8  and  planned  a  thorough  analysis 
of  the  mind  based  upon  careful  observations. 

The  approach  of  father  .and  so&  to  investigations  of  mental  function 
was  to  create  considerable  criticism  of  their  own  religious  convictions. 
Thij^wa^lhe, price-  they  were  to  pay  for  their  new-found  freedom  of 
thought.  This  had  serious  consequences  in  the  life  of  James,  whose 
later  endeavors  were  also  to  provoke  misunderstanding  and  disapproval. 
Benjamin  Rush  was  a  leader  in  the  Presbyterian  faith  and  his  reform 
effort  was  "as  fundamentally  religious  as  it  was  patriotic."  9  His  stern 
faith  (which  it  is  presumed  he  imparted  to  his  children)  led  him  in  later 
years  to  "part  company  with  his  Presbyterian  teachers  and  associates" 
because  he  found  them  "too  good  to  do  good."  10  His  letters  to  James 
often  expressed  hope  that  James  would  hold  fast  to  his  religious  convic- 
tion. But  society  could  not  believe  that  scientific  study  of  the  machinery 
of  human  control  would  be  compatible  with  faith  in  divine  design. 
When  James  Rush  in  his  turn  developed  a  segment  of  the  history  of 
mind,  religious  indictment  became  intense  and  no  doubt  contributed 
to  his  retirement.  Public  opinion  to  a  great  extent  was  admittedly  re- 
sponsible for  deferring  his  investigation  of  mind. 

Research  into  the  mind  was  dominated  by  "the  privileged  order  of 
metaphysicians."  ai  Mind  was  said  to  be  spirit  and  spirit  was  an  entity 


separated  from  matter  and  unyielding  to  human  analysis.  Accordingly, 
Rush's  analysis  of  mental  functions  was  judged  atheistic.  Such  condem- 
nation apparently  became  widespread  as  years  passed  and  may  have 
had  some  foundation  in  his  general  contempt  for  organized  religious 
practice.  Into  a  small  note  pad  he  penned  in  1835:  "The  literary  world 
have  got  to  worship  Shakespeare,  and  so  forget  to  imitate  his  excellence, 
just  as  the  religions  of  the  world  adore  God  and  omit  to  imitate  his 
truth  and  justice."  12  And  in  the  Preface  to  Rhymes  of  Contrast  on  Wis- 
dom and  Folly  in  1869  he  wrote:  "Our  mind  like  the  rest  of  physical 
Creation  is  under  the  necessary  Rule  of  God  and  Nature;  let  us  not  try 
to  thwart  that  Rule,  by  the  metaphysical  attempt  to  take  their  Law  of 
the  intellect  into  our  own  fictional  hand.  Follow  that  Law  and  it  will 
keep  us  right,  as  it  does  the  mind  of  the  sub-animal  world."  13 

James  Rush  was  attempting  to  open  further  the  door  of  scientific  in- 
vestigation of  mind,  following  the  efforts  of  his  father.  He  believed 
firmly  in  the  existence  of  an  Almighty  Power,  or  First  Cause,  and  that 
science  merely  aided  us  in  understanding  His  instruments  of  life.  Many 
friends  and  relatives,  however,  feared  for  his  soul's  safety  if  he  con- 
tinued such  materialistic  reasoning.  His  cousin,  Mary  Rush,  wrote 
dramatically  and  at  great  length  petitioning  him  to  give  up  his  studies. 

. .  .  look  away,  I  pray  you,  from  the  weak  and  sinful  creatures  who  now 
address  you  and  remember  only,  that  your  own  soul  is  at  stake. .  .  . 

I  entreat  you,  by  all  that  is  sacred  in  heaven,  and  by  all  that  you  value 
upon  earth,  by  all  that  is  manly  and  respectable  and  praiseworthy  among 
men,  to  abandon  your  present  delusive  and  soul-destroying  views  of  religion.14 

Although  Rush's  studies  were  to  take  him  towards  renown,  he  was 
never  to  know  the  comfort  and  respect  of  success  which  he  sought  in 
his  own  days. 

Shortly  after  he  had  begun  his  practice  of  medicine  following  his 
return  from  Edinburgh,  he  married  Phoebe  Anne  Ridgway  (1819),  an 
heiress  and  a  brilliant  leader  of  Philadelphia  society.  The  early  years 
of  his  marriage  were  apparently  very  happy,  and  his  professional 
achievements  during  this  time  were  his  best.  He  not  only  had  begun  his 
investigations  of  mental  function  but  attempted  to  prepare  a  medical 
text  which  he  called  Novus  Ordo  Medicinae^  This  was  to  have  been  a 
compilation  of  medical  case  histories  using  not  only  a  running  account 
but  a  chart  system  for  recording  symptoms.  A  bound  workbook  of 
printed  page-forms  for  this  purpose  is  still  among  his  manuscripts  but 
comparatively  few  pages  were  recorded.  This  work,  begun  in  1813  and 
continued  while  he  was  conducting  his  successful  medical  practice,  was 
apparently  laid  aside  as  his  enthusiasm  for  his  study  of  mind  increased. 
He  did  not  find  another  opportunity  to  return  in  earnest  to  it,  for  he 

DR.    JAMES   RUSH  223 

intensified  his  study  of  mind  during  the  years  1818-1822,  which  in  turn 
led  him,  by  1823,  into  the  field  of  creative  communication. 

This  shift  of  interest  so  occupied  his  attention  that  his  early  notations 
on  mind  were  left  unpublished  until  after  The  Philosophy  of  the  Human 
Voice  had  been  in  print  through  five  revisions.  However,  in  order  to 
comprehend  better  the  relationship  between  his  vocal  analysis  and  his 
description  of  mental  process  it  is  desirable  first  to  follow  his  reasoning 
through  to  its  eventual  goal,  The  Natural  History  of  the  Intellect,  which 
appeared  in  1865.  With  appreciation  for  his  avowed  and  original  pur- 
pose of  analyzing  mental  function,  and  an  understanding  of  the  prod- 
uct of  this  endeavor,  we  shall  more  readily  recognize  his  vocal  philoso- 
phy as  the  by-product  of  his  medical  research, 


In  addition  to  his  conviction  that  mind  consisted  only  of  perception 
and  ine'mory,  which  Dr.  Rush  had  arrived  at  prior  to  1818,  he  had  the 
growing  belief  that  the  manner  in  which  mind  was  capable  of  expres- 
siorrwas  a  part  of  mental  function  itself.  He  then  began  a  careful  ex- 
perimental observation  of  vocal  expression  to  discover  the  relationship 
between  it  and  its  apparent  complement— perception. 

Thus  began  a  hybrid  process  of  reasoning  and  experimentation  which 
made  the  investigations  of  Rush  an  interesting  cross  between  the  arm- 
chair psychology  of  his  contemporaries  and  the  experimental  psy- 
chology which  followed  almost  fifty  years  later.  It  should  be  remem- 
bered that  his  1818  recorded  notations  were  contemporary  with  BesseFs 
report  of  the  Greenwich  observatory  incident  which  called  attention  to 
individual  differences  and  ushered  in  a  new  era  in  psychology.  Thus,  his 
primary  postulates  on  mind  and  voice  become  historically  significant 
in  relation  to  experimental  psychology  as  well  as  to  speech. 

Rush^firgtJS^ipr  postulate,  which  evolved  during  the  half  century 
in  which  he  studied  the  functioning  of  mind,  was  that  mind  should  be 
regarded  ^^physiological  function  as  orderly  as  sensation  itself  and 
as  tanpSe  a$,  muscle  movement  His  two  volumes  on  the  subject  of 
human  intellect  which  finally  emerged  are  too  involved  and  cumber- 
some to  be  reported  upon  in  detail,  but  it  can  be  seen  that  he  started 
from  a  premise  of  physiologic  reality: 

All  that  man  perceives,  thinks,  pronounces,  and  performs  is  respectively 
through  his  senses,  his  brain  and  his  muscles.  From  these  physical  and  direc- 
tive agencies  proceed  his  science  and  his  art;  and  from  their  proper  or  im- 
proper use  severally  arise  his  good  and  his  evil,  his  error  and  his  truth.16 

He  finally  saw  function  of  mind  as  consisting  of  five  "constituents," 
rather  than  three: 


. . .  First.  Primary  perceptions  of  things  before  the  senses.  Second.  Memorial 
perceptions  after  their  removal.  Third,  Joint  perceptions;  by  which  primary 
are  compared  with  primary,  or  memorial  with  memorials  which  are  called 
unmixed;  and  mixed,  when  these  two  different  forms  are  compared  with  each 
other.  Fourth.  Conclusive  perceptions,  or  those  by  which  we  come  finally  to 
a  knowledge  of  the  relationships  of  two  or  more  of  the  primary  and  memorial 
to  each  other;  from  their  agreement  or  identity  to  classify  the  things  of  nature; 
affirm  their  laws;  and  apply  them  to  the  purpose  of  science,  of  art,  and  of  our 
physical,  moral  and  intellectual  selves.  Fifth.  Verbal  perceptions,  or  vocal  and 
written  signs  of  all  the  other  four  different  forms;  without  which  allotted  and 
manageable  signs;  or  in  common  phrase,  without  language  of  sound,  or 
of  symbol,  for  thought  and  passion;  the  human  mind  would  be  as  limited 
as  that  of  the  brute.17 

What  Rush  was  saying  meant  simply  that  the  complicated  and  mys- 
terious functioning  of  mind  was  really  an  orderly  sequence  of  sensation, 
memory,  association,  conclusive  perception,  and  muscular  and  verbal 
performance  responses: 

All  of  its  [mind's]  intellectual  functions  and  products,  whether  of  thought, 
or  passion,  properly  so  distinguished;  or  of  passion  carried  into  nervous,  mus- 
cular, or  vocal  action,  are  the  effects,  the  whole  effects,  and  nothing  but  the 
effects  of  these.18 

His  effort  as  a  physician-scientist  to  understand  mind  as  a  physiological 
phenomenon— a  function  of  tangible  matter  and  human  material— was 
one  of  the  first  attempts  at  modern  classifications  in  psychology. 
His  second  contention  was  that  thought  and  speech  are  inseparable: 

The  mind  as  we  only  can  know  it;  is  an  indivisible  compound  of  Thought 
and  Speech  or  other  sign.  Which  first  begins,  if  they  are  not  co-eval,  is  a  point 
for  Metaphysicians. . . . 

To  describe  the  mind,  therefore,  it  is  necessary  to  show  the  inseparable 
connection  between  thought  and  the  voice;  with  their  influences  on  each 
other:  for  they  cannot,  separately,  be  fully  known.19 

In  pointing  out  the  interdependence  of  thought  and  speech,  and  in 
demonstrating  the  functions  of  mind  to  be  physiological  phenomena, 
the  third  basic  postulate  becomes  evident:  that  speech  is  a  total  mental 
and  physical  response.  Although  he  stops  the  moving  wheel  to  count  its 
spokes,  he  remains  constantly  aware  of  man's  dynamic  nature,  his  inte- 
gration, his  existence  as  a  unit,  and  his  whole  personality.  "Wisdom, 
folly,  virtue,  and  vice,  with  all  their  forms  and  effects  are  enacted  by 
the  mind,"  20  he  says,  and  what  a  person  is,  and  what  he  will  be,  is 
determined  by  the  cultivated  use  of  sensation,  memory,  association,  "and 
the  verbal  resultant  Mental  processes,  then,  are  one  and  the  same  with 
physical  sensation  and  expression;  and  speech  cannot  be  isolated  or 
disassociated  from  the  physical  being,  or  whole  personality,  for  it  is 

DR.    JAMES   RUSH  225 

actually  the  fifth  constituent  of  the  mind  itself.  The  Natural  History  of 
the  Intellect  attempts  not  only  to  develop  these  primary  tenets,  but  to 
describe  the  manner  in  which  behavior  can  be  recognized  and  predicted 
in  many  of  life's  situations. 

Although  his  final  work  on  mind  bears  a  strong  resemblance  to  cur- 
rently known  neurological  explanations  of  brain  activity,  his  volumes 
on  the  subject  were  too  late  to  be  significant  in  the  rapidly  expanding 
scientific  approaches  to  the  subject.  Furthermore,  his  final  digest  of  the 
matter  became  so  distorted  by  disappointments  of  his  life  and  packed 
with  the  prejudice  and  disillusionment  of  a  man  "out  of  joint  with  his 
time/' 21  that  his  volumes  on  the  intellect  were  disregarded  by  scholars 
and  served  only  to  accent  his  final  failure  as  a  scientific  figure. 

It  is  not  difficult  today  to  understand  how  reasonable  was  Rush's 
transition  from  an  analysis  of  mind  to  that  of  voice.  As  he  observed  the 
function  of  mind  he  became  convinced  he  "should  require  further 
knowledge  of  the  various  departments  of  nature,  "science,  art,  and  life" 
to  enable  him  to  "encompass  the  detail  embraced  by  [my]  practical 
system  of  Perceptions/3  22  Furthermore,  he  did  not  wish  to  become 
involved  in  further  argument  concerning  the  question  of  the  mind's 
"material,  or  spiritual,  or  any  mystical  or  metaphysical  causation."  23 
He  reasoned  that  for  one  successfully  to  submit  to  the  public  a  view  as 
controversial  as  his,  he  would  first  need  to  develop  a  reputation  for 
profound  thinking  through  more  popular  publications.  He  began  to 
study  mathematics,  natural  philosophy,  history,  metaphysics,  philology, 
military  science,  and  the  aesthetic  arts.  This  last  interest  awakened  in 
him  his  early  flair  for  rhyming  and  he  began  occasionally  to  write  in 
"the  brief-sententious  manner  of  early  English  Dramatists."  24  He  rea- 
soned that  neither  a  textbook  in  medicine  nor  a  professional  disserta- 
tion on  mind  would  be  accepted  by  the  hostile  public  until  he  had 
received  acclaim  in  other  ways.  No  doubt  this  decision  led  him  first 
to  complete  the  Philosophy. 

Along  the  way  he  was  drawn  to  a  study  of  Smith's  Harmonics  2S  and 
was  impressed  by  the  "distinction  perceived  by  the  Greeks,  between  the 
continuous  or  sliding  movement  of  the  voice,  in  speech,  and  its  dis- 
crete or  skipping  transition,  by  the  steps  of  the  musical  scale."  He 
sought  to  satisfy  his  curiosity  concerning  the  variations  of  voice  "by  a 
strict,  physical,  and  Baconian  investigation  of  its  phenomena,  particu- 
larly as  they  might  be  connected  with  the  working  plan  of  the  mind."  2Q 
In  1823  he  recorded  some  notes  called  "Remarks  on  the  Human  Voice 
in  Reading."  This  marked  the  beginning  of  a  more  concentrated  and 
systematic  effort  to  study  the  voice. 

He  tried  to  free  himself  from  the  bondage  of  existing  falsity  and  con- 
fusion in  this  field  and  to  make  his  own  first-hand  observations  of 


speech.  In  1826  this  work  was  accomplished,  and  he  published  in 
1827  the  first  edition  of  The  Philosophy  of  the  Human  Voice. 


Having  explained  how  Dr.  Rush  came  to  write  on  speech  and  voice 
and  what  major  premises  formed  the  foundation  of  his  various  writings, 
we  are  now  in  position  to  examine  the  original  contributions  he  made 
specifically  in  the  field  of  speech.  But  before  doing  so,  it  would  be  well 
first  to  look  at  the  basic  premise  upon  which  his  descriptive  analysis  of 
the  speech  process  hinged.  In  writing  The  Philosophy  of  the  Human 
Voice,  Rush  endeavored  to  furnish  "physiological  data  to  Rhetori- 
cians." 27  It  was  not  his  concern  to  create  a  system  of  rules,  but  to 
observe  nature  that  he  might  give  a  physiological  foundation  to  ex- 
pressive art 

The  anatomy  of  the  speech  mechanism  had  already  been  described 
by  science,  but  the  physiology  or  function  of  the  mechanism  had  not 
been  detailed  beyond  discernment  of  the  parts  of  the  system  that  pro- 
duced the  sound.  Rhetoricians,  on  the  other  hand,  had  noted  the 
elements  of  voice—force,  pitch,  quality,  rhythm—but  had  not  identified 
them  with  the  functions  of  anatomy.  In  publishing  a  vocal  philosophy 
which  gave  a  physiological  foundation  and  explanation  to  vocal  theory, 
Rush  gave  an  entirely  new  and  different  emphasis  to  the  study  and 
teaching  of  speech,28 

It  is  true  he  gave  application  to  his  organized  arrangement  and 
description  of  the  vocal  elements,  which  provided  elocutionists  easy 
access  to  a  "system,"  but  his  major  contention  was  that  the  natural 
phenomena  of  vocal  expression  were  describable,  and  further,  that  only 
from  such  a  description  could  students  be  guided  in  making  their  own 
analysis  of  nature. 

He  who  has  a  knowledge  of  the  constituents  of  speech,  and  of  their  powers 
and  uses,  is  the  potential  master  of  the  science  of  Elocution;  and  he  must 
then  derive  from  his  ear,  his  sense  of  propriety,  and  his  taste,  the  means  of 
actually  applying  it  with  success.29 

He  believed  that  an  actor's  or  speaker's  first  obligation  was  to  nature, 
that  to  be  natural  in  all  expression  wa&  tlie  prime  prerequisite,  but  that 
a  student  must  have  the  cues  to  recognition  of  nature's  unfoldment 
which  a  study  of  the  Philosophy  should  give  him.  Furthermore,  when 
the  dictates  of  nature  inspired  a  performer  he  must  have  at  his  com- 
mand the  skill  of  a  voice  potential  which  would  serve  his  creative 
instinct.  That  potential  could  be  cultivated  by  routine  and  organized 
exercise  of  the  voice,  unrelated  to  any  specific  performance  effort.30 

DK.    JAMES   RUSH  227 

He  reasoned  that  as  a  violinist  must  learn  finger  dexterity  and  tonal 
control  through  exercise,  so  should  a  vocalist,  speaker,  or  singer 
achieve  vocal  capacity  that  would  serve  him  satisfactorily  in  moments 
of  creative  expression. 

In  the  preparation  of  his  own  treatise,  Rush  was  apparently  keenly 
aware  of  the  work  of  many  of  the  earlier  writers.  His  personal 
library  contains  many  such  volumes,  most  of  which  are  replete  with 
his  own  marginal  notations  of  occasional  agreement  and  frequent  vio- 
lent disgust.31 

We  are  now  ready  to  consider  the  five  major  and  original  contribu- 
tions of  Rush  to  the  teaching  of  speech.  In  the  first  place,  he  made  a 
bold  gesture  at  clarifying  speech  nomenclature.  Such  confusion  had 
re§td±ed  from  earlier  writers  using  terms  so  freely  and  interchangeably 
that  their  concepts  themselves  were  often  obscured.  Rush  attempted 
to  give  rhyme  and  reason  to  the  terms  currently  being  used.  For 
example,  he  drew  together  the  "elements."  He-  dassified  voic,e  under 
five  general  heads:  quality,  force,  time,  abruptness,  and  pitch.32 

Discussion  of  pitch  became  more  clarified  under  his  terminology 
because  he  used  terms  with  parallel  reference  in  music.  Many  con- 
fusions such  as  existed  between  the  meanings  of  quality  and  tone, 
inflection  and  pitch,  and  among  quantity,  accent  and  force,  were  clari- 
fied by  his  recorded  nomenclature  and  because  of  the  popularity  of  his 
book  they  became  accepted  terms.  No  doubt  the  nomenclature  de- 
scribed and  used  in  the  Philosophy  has  been  a  great  influence  in  devel- 
oping the  speech  terminology  in  use  today. 

The  second,  and  without  doubt  the  most  important  original  contribu- 
tion, was  his  concept  of  a  radical  and  vanishing  movement  in  the 
production^  of  phonetic  units.  A  greater  part  of  his  text  is  based  upon 
this  concept.  MucH  of  his  work  on  pitch  and  stress  appears  to  be  more 
original  with  him  than  it  actually  was  because  of  his  use  of  radical  and 
vanish  to  explain  them.  Radical  is  the  beginning  or  root  of  each  sound 
unit  from  which  the  vanish  can  develop  all  manner  of  movement  to 
complete  the  unit.  This  vanishing  movement  has  usually  a  fading  effect, 
although  in  some  cases  the  radical  fades  into  a  stressed  vanish.  The 
simplest  illustration  of  radical  and  vanish  is  the  diphthong  or  receding 
glide.  In  vowel  movements  of  the  word  day  Rush  refers  to  the  [e]  as 
the  radical  and  the  [i]  or  [j]  as  the  vanish.  In  the  approaching  glide  [j] 
as  in  the  word  yes,  the  radical  is  the  [j]  and  the  [E]  the  stressed  vanish. 
There  is  no  definite  division  of  movement  into  two  parts;  rather  these 
terms  are  "general  reference  to  the  two  extremes  of  the  movement."  33 

He  pointed  out  further  that  when  the  voice  moves  through  the 
radical  and  vanish  in  a  smooth  manner  with  no  effort  to  prolong  either 
the  attack  or  the  release  of  the  sound,  the  equable  concrete  movement 


is  formed.  If  the  first  part  of  the  sound  is  prolonged  and  the  vanish  is 
terminated  rapidly,  the  protracted  radical  is  created.  Likewise,  the  pro- 
tracted vanish  occurs  when  the  radical  is  slighted  but  greater  stress 
and  duration  is  given  the  vanish. 

Much  can  be  explained  by  radical  and  vanish.  Differences  in  stress 
and  loudness  occur  always  between  the  radical  and  vanishing  move- 
ment. Between  radical  and  vanish  there  must  be  a  difference  in  pitch. 
Song  is  distinguished  from  speech  in  that  song  is  characteristically  a 
monotone.  The  pitch  differences  in  song  are  of  melodic  nature,  but  a 
word  or  syllable  sung  on  a  single  melody  note  is  a  monotone.  Rush 
said  there  could  be  no  such  thing  as  a  monotone  in  speech  for  there 
must  be  a  change  in  pitch  sometime  during  the  radical-vanishing  move- 
ment of  each  syllable.  This  can  certainly  be  observed  when  a  person 
speaks  in  a  so-called  monotone,  for  the  monotonous  effect  comes  from  a 
predominant  pitch  or  pitch  pattern,  while  there  are  still  present  the 
slight  pitch  changes  during  each  radical-vanishing  movement  of  a 

The  third  phase  of  his  original  work  on  voice  was  his  explanation  of 
the  phonetic  elements,  based  upon  the  function  of  radical  and,  vanish. 
He"nbt  only  reclassifled  them  to  avoid  the  inconsistencies  of  spelling, 
but  also  to  observe  the  intonation  of  speech.  He  recognized  thirty-five 
phonetic  elements  which  he  divided  into  three  groups:  the  tonics,  sub- 
tonics,  and  atonies.  The  tonics  are  capable  of  complete  radical  and 
vanish  movements  (vowels,  glides);  the  subtonics  can  embrace  this 
movement  within  themselves  less  perfectly,  depending  usually  upon  an 
adjacent  tonic  for  completion  (voiced  consonants);  and  the  atonies  are 
incapable  of  employing  the  movement;  but  serve  in  the  capacity  of 
imitators  or  terminators  (unvoiced  consonants).  The  tonics  serve  best 
as  vehicles  of  flexibility  in  intonation,  the  subtonics  next  best,  and  the 
atonies  are  of  least  value  in  that  respect.  He  also  described  the  sounds 
as  to  aspiration,  abruptness,  and  other  phonetic  characteristics.  His  was 
the  clearest  and  most  reasonable  phonetic  analysis  of  his  day. 

The  fourth  original  contribution  was  his  treq.toent^syUa^ication. 
This  again  was  based  upon  the  radical  and  van^fiMgmovemerit  A 
syllable  depends  upon  the  completion  of  the  radical  and  vanish.  When 
that  movement  has  been  terminated  any  new  sound  produced  will  of 
necessity  initiate  another  syllable.  The  presence  of  a  final  atonic  means 
that  another  syllable  will  of  necessity  be  initiated  if  it  is  followed  by  a 
subtonic  or  tonic  which  has  the  capacity  to  begin  a  new  radical  and 
vanish  movement.  Two  adjacent  atonies  prolong  the  syllable,  but  once 
the  vanish  is  completed  by  an  atonic  a  new  movement  cannot  be  begun 
without  a  second  syllable  resulting. 
He  showed  further  how  varying  effects  of  the  syllables  are  created 

DR.   JAMES   RUSH  229 

by  combining  different  phonetic  elements  in  the  creation  of  a  complete 
radical-vanish  movement. 

The  first  difference  in  the  quality  of  a  syllable  is  created  by  the 
presence  of  the  tonics  alone.  Rush  said  in  this  case  that  there  is  no 
difference  in  the  agreeableness  of  the  sound,  for  the  diphthongs  are  as 
pleasant  as  pure  vowels,  even  though  the  concrete  rise  of  a  diphthong 
is  composed  of  two  different  alphabetic  elements. 

The  second  type  of  syllable  is  one  in  which  the  tonic  is  initial  and 
is  followed  by  one  or  two  subtonics,  as  in  [elm].  This  forms  an  "easy 
mingling  of  their  constituents"  and  consequently  a  pleasant,  blending 

The  third  type  is  that  in  which  a  tonic  is  preceded  and  followed  by 
a  subtonic  as  in  [memz],  [relm].  A  continuant  effect  is  created  by  this 
combination  also. 

The  fourth  arrangement  of  elements  is  not  so  agreeable.  Rush  said, 
for  tonics,  subtonics  and  atonies  are  combined.  This  presence  of  the 
atonic  prevents  the  equability  of  the  concrete  and  consequently  a  less 
smooth  effect.  An  example  of  this  composite  type  is  in  strength  [stren,0]. 

A  fifth  arrangement  is  found  in  the  second  syllable  of  little,  in  which 
no  tonic  is  present.  Such  a  combination  lacks  strength,  Rush  said. 

Rush  also  had  a  word  to  say  about  the  glide,  which  he  did  not  call 
by  that  name,  but  which  he  discussed  in  showing  the  "various  degrees 
in  the  smoothness  of  the  syllabic  impulse."  35  For  instance,  in  the  word 
•flower  he  shows  how  two  syllables  are  created  if  the  w  subtonic  is 
inserted  between  the  two  tonics.  In  other  words,  if  the  o  is  uttered  as 
distinct  diphthong  [cm],  with  the  [u]  as  a  protracted  vanish  movement, 
a  complete  radical  and  vanish  results  and  a  full  syllable  is  formed, 
Thus  when  the  [3]  is  sounded  a  new  radical  is  begun  and  a  second 
syllable  ensues. 

Rush  further  said  that  if  the  o  in  rising  through  the  concrete  interval 
to  the  vanishing  movement  blends  the  [u]  of  the  diphthong  with  the 
final  er,  only  one  syllable  results.  The  final  [r]  becomes  the  vanish  of 
[a]  and  the  word  is  spoken  as  one  syllable,  thus  [flour]. 

He  added  to  the  foregoing  comment  on  the  word  flower,  the  explana- 
tion of  how  a  y  is  often  inserted  between  awkward  combinations  of 
successive  tonics  as  in  aorta.  This  reduces  the  necessity  of  a  point  of 
junction  in  vocality  in  order  to  start  the  radical  of  the  second  tonic 
after  the  vanish  of  the  preceding  tonic.  If  the  y  is  inserted,  a  continuous 
utterance  is  created  with  the  y,  [i],  becoming  the  vanish  of  the  pre- 
ceding tonic. 

These  two  incidental  observations  of  Rush  demonstrate  his  recog- 
nition of  the  concept  of  glide  on  the  basis  of  the  reaction  of  the  radical 
and  vanishing  movement  to  these  particular  alphabetic  constructions. 


Rush  made  rather  significant  observations  in  the  field  of  phonetic 
analysis  which  apparently  were  of  less  interest  to  his  contemporaries 
and  followers,  and  consequently  have  not  been  identified  among  his 
contributions  to  speech  pedagogy. 

The  fifth  point  of  originality  in  Rush's  vocal  theory  was  his  detailed 
description  of  the  specific  interval  of  inflection.  He  described  the  emo- 
tional and  intellectual  impressions  created  by  the  use  of  certain  intervals 
of  pitch-change  in  the  spoken  word.  These  vary  from  semi-tone  changes 
in  plaintive  expression,  when  the  change  in  pitch  is  so  slight  between 
the  radical  and  vanishing  movement  that  only  the  trained  ear  will 
recognize  it  as  a  varying  pitch,  to  the  octave  inflection  of  interrogation 
and  emphasis.  He  described  the  effect  of  these  intervals  as  they  occur 
in  both  rising  or  falling  slides,  in  the  circumflex  and  in  the  step  forms. 
These  variations  are  so  rapid  and  in  some  cases  so  minute  that  it  is 
difficult  to  recognize  their  existence  as  an  important  discriminating 
factor  between  speech  and  song.  They  are  responsible,  however,  for 
much  of  the  emotion  and  shades  of  meaning  in  speech. 

These  five  phases  of  his  vocal  philosophy  may  be  regarded  as  the 
most  significant  and  original  contributions  of  his  book. 

Rush  made  other  contributions  to  speech  education  in  his  treatise  on 
voice.  Among  them  were  his  arrangement  and  treatment  of  vocal  ele- 
ments which  became  the  pattern  many  teachers  used  in  formulating 
their  own  instructional  theory.  Although  almost  all  aspects  of  his  de- 
scription of  vocal  elements  were  already  in  literature,36  Rush's  own 
arrangement,  terminology,  and  observable  variations  of  course  con- 
stituted definitive  differences.  His  use  of  the  concept  of  radical  and 
vanish  permeated  his  presentation  and  gave  it  original  character. 

Some  mention  should  be  made  of  Rush's  treatment  of  vocal  quality, 
since  there  appears  to  be  some  difference  of  opinion  in  later  literature 
concerning  his  statement  of  this  element  and  because  of  its  relationship 
to  the  Natural  History  of  the  Intellect. 

The  chapters  in  the  Philosophy  which  Rush  subjected  to  greater 
revision  than  any  others  throughout  the  six  editions  were  those  dealing 
with  verbal  expression  of  mind  and  passion,  and  with  the  physiological 
description  of  voice.  Rush  believed  one  cannot  understand  the  quality 
of  voice  without  knowing  what  structures  are  involved  in  the  produc- 
tion of  it;  hence  as  he  attempted  to  give  physiological  description  to 
vocal  quality,  he  utilized  what  information  was  known  factually  about 
the  anatomy  of  the  vocal  mechanism,  added  his  own  observations,  and 
described  all  vocal  behavior  as  physiological  functioning  of  structure. 
Such  study,  evolving  from  his  long-range  intentions  of  discovering 
states  of  the  mind,  was  subject  to  much  revision  and  eventually  pro- 
duced his  opinion  on  "Vocal  Signs  of  Thought  and  Passion."37  The 

DR.    JAMES   RUSH  231 

relationship  of  his  work  on  voice  to  his  later  volumes  on  intellect  is 
more  clearly  seen  in  this  aspect  of  voice  analysis.  In  an  attempt  to 
understand  the  mind,  he  described  in  detail  the  peripheral,  or  vocal, 
signs  of  thought  and  feeling.  After  recording  such  observation  in  terms 
of  vocal  quality,  inflections,  changes  of  stress,  and  time,  he  then  at- 
tempted to  describe  all  the  possible  thoughts  and  passions  which  might 
give  rise  to  such  variety  of  vocal  signs.  Thus  The  Philosophy  of  the 
Human  Voice,  which  was  born  of  his  medical  inquiry  into  mind,  itself 
became  the  parent  of  The  Natural  History  of  the  Intellect,  the  product 
of  his  attempt  to  describe  the  combinations  of  mental  functioning  which 
give  rise  to  vocal  expression. 

Throughout  all  the  editions  of  Rush  the  total  number  of  vocal  qual- 
ities described  in  any  way  are  six.  Of  these,  the  nasal  quality  is  men- 
tioned only  as  a  subtonic  in  his  classification  of  phonetic  elements,  and 
the  guttural  is  given  as  a  defective  and  unpleasant  utterance  already 
described  by  rhetoricians.  The  whisper  is  listed  as  a  quality  of  voice 
until  the  sixth  edition  of  his  text,  when  he  used  the  term  uocality  for 
quality,  and  hence  the  whisper  could  not  qualify. 

The  natural  quality  of  voice  is  that  used  in  ordinary  speaking  and 
employs  complete  pitch  range.  It  is  produced  by  the  vibration  of  the 
vocal  cords  and  is  capable  of  discrete,  concrete  and  tremulous  pitch 
motion.  Lively  or  moderate  sentiments  of  colloquial  dialogue  and  of 
familiar  lecture  and  discourse  are  expressed  by  this  quality  as  Rush 
described  it. 

The  falsette  [sic]  is  "that  peculiar  voice  in  which  the  higher  degrees 
of  pitch  are  made,  after  the  natural  voice  breaks  or  outruns  its 
power/' 38 

Again,  all  the  phonetic  elements  may  be  made  in  the  falsette  ( except 
of  course,  atonies )  and  it  has  the  same  pitch  flexibility,  although  lim- 
ited in  range;  it  is  made  with  the  same  mechanism  which  produces  the 
normal  voice.  It  is  frequently  used  in  screaming,  and  giving  expression 
to  pain  and  surprise. 

The  whisper,  which  is  merely  a  continuant  of  atonic  elements,  is  a 
form  of  producing  speech  which  is  used  in  expressing  secrecy,  and 
gives  rise  to  the  aspirated  form  of  vocalization.  The  aspirate,  per  se,  is 
never  referred  to  as  a  quality  of  voice. 

The  orotund  voice  is  "that  natural  or  improved  manner  of  uttering 
elements  which  exhibits  them  with  a  fullness,  clearness,  strength, 
smoothness,  and  a  ringing  or  musical  quality,  rarely  heard  in  ordinary 
speech/' 39  It  is  obtainable,  Rush  believed,  only  after  much  cultivation 
of  voice;  in  speech,  it  would  require  the  adaptation  of  the  "pure  tone" 
production  of  singing  and  a  more  complete  control  of  expiration.  Its 
advantages  in  speaking  are  to  give  a  greater  fullness  and  smoothness 


to  voice,  to  aid  in  distinct  articulation,  to  give  greater  strength  and 
musical  value,  and  to  maintain  voice  under  better  control.  He  declared 
it  to  be  a  most  useful  quality  for  interpretative  purposes,  but  in  no 
way  should  it  detract  from  one's  use  of  the  normal  quality. 

Thus,  Rush  gave  explanation  to  vocal  quality-a  phenomenon  of 
voice  resulting  from  the  function  of  body  structure  under  government 
of  mind.  Expression  of  thought,  changes  in  emphasis,  and  passion  it- 
self are  all  evidenced  as  the  product  of  changing  combinations  of 
quality,  pitch,  force,  rhythm.  Again  it  should  be  remembered  that 
while  Rush  made  a  detailed  description  of  the  isolated  speech  proc- 
esses, he  expressed  the  modern  viewpoint  that  it  is  the  total,  complete, 
and  cumulative  effect  which  is  expressive.  Each  of  the  elements  gives 
its  share  of  support  to  the  whole,  but  no  element  should  itself  be 
noticeable  in  the  patterns  of  expressive  communication. 


While  the  Philosophy  became  very  popular  with  teachers  of  elocu- 
tion after  its  first  edition  in  1827,  it  still  did  not  give  Rush  the  recog- 
nition which  would  have  permitted  his  return  to  his  earlier  scientific 
studies.  Accordingly,  he  felt  that  if  he  could  attain  a  reputation  as  a 
literary  writer,  using  his  early  love  and  aptitude  for  poetic  composi- 
tion, he  might  achieve  the  popular  acclaim  he  needed  to  pave  the  way 
for  his  profound  medical  discourse.  This  resulted  in  the  publication  in 
1834  of  Hamlet,  A  Dramatic  Prelude  in  Five  Acts.40  In  this  effort  too, 
he  fell  short  of  the  mark  and  remained  obscure  as  a  literary  figure  as 
well  as  a  scientist. 

Rush  took  heart,  however,  from  the  early  appeal  of  the  Philosophy 
and  revised  it  three  times  before  attempting  to  finish  his  work  on  the 
mind.  By  a  few  teachers  such  as  Jonathan  Barber,  the  Philosophy  was 
held  to  be  an  unprecedented  triumph.  On  the  other  hand,  Barber 
himself  suffered  great  social  and  professional  reverses  because  of  cham- 
pioning and  even  associating  with  a  man  whom  society  did  not  greatly 
respect.41  Barber's  Exercises  in  Reading 42  published  in  1823  was  en- 
tirely in  accord  with  Rush  and  the  two  men  were  immediately  attracted 
to  each  other.  In  fact,  Rush  attributed  a  large  part  of  the  Philosophy's 
success  to  Jonathan  Barber.  Others  who  apparently  approved  were 
Jonathan's  younger  brother  John,43  a  lecturer  in  the  City  of  New  York; 
Samuel  Gummere,44  then  principal  of  a  school  in  Burlington,  New 
Jersey;  a  Mr.  Dennison,  an  Irishman  and  teacher  in  Philadelphia;  Dr. 
Andrew  Comstock,45  a  physician  who  had  established  himself  as  a 
teacher  of  elocution  in  Philadelphia;  and  William  Bryant,  a  clergyman 
of  the  Episcopal  Church. 

DR.    JAMES   RUSH  233 

Several  authors  used  material  directly  from  Rush,  probably  without 
his  consent.  Rush  had  obvious  reason  to  be  incensed  by  plagiarisms  of 
authors  like  Rev.  W.  B.  Lacey,46  Lyman  Cobb,47  Richard  Cull,48  and 
there  is  evidence  of  much  unpleasant  exchange  of  correspondence  be- 
tween Rush  and  men  who  were  attempting  to  take  advantage  of  him. 
He  wrote  Charles  Whitney  and  accused  him  of  unauthorized  use  of 
his  name  in  an  Albany,  New  York,  Evening  Journal  advertisement 
which  announced  Whitney  as  a  teacher  of  reading,  declamation,  and 


The  fact  that  Rush  wrote  at  all  in  the  field  of  speech  was  rather 
accidental  and  resulted  from  an  unusual  turn  of  affairs.  Yet  once  he 
demonstrated  that  human  vocal  expression  could  be  observed  in  minute 
detail  and  given  an  orderly  and  systematic  description,  he  established 
a  precedent  which  lesser  men  than  he  were  to  abuse.  Rush  did  not 
plan  a  prescriptive  system  for  teachers  of  elocution,  but  intended  to 
show  nature's  orderly  design.  That  he  should  have  given  impetus  to  a 
trend  towards  mechanical  artifice  of  communication  and  aesthetic  art 
was  an  unhappy  ending  to  a  noble  determination  to  discover  scientific 
facts  about  human  behavior. 

Many  simplifications  of  his  system  were  soon  published  by  teachers 
who  sought  to  present  a  concise  outline  of  elocutionary  art  to  students. 
These  abridgements  did  not  recognize  his  true  purpose  but  prescribed 
the  very  artifices  Rush  had  sought  to  remedy.  In  the  Preface  to  the  third 
edition  of  his  Philosophy,  Rush  took  occasion  to  condemn  the  practice 
of  simplifying  his  system  for  schools: 

This  attempt,  either  by  its  very  purpose,  or  by  the  manner  of  its  execution 
has  perhaps  had  the  effect  to  retard  the  progress  of  our  new  system  of  the 
voice.  For,  the  superficial  character  of  these  books,  and  the  mingling  of  parts 
of  the  old  method  with  parts  of  the  new,  together  with  an  attempt  to  give 
definition  and  order  to  these  scattered  materials,  has  left  the  inquirer  unsatis- 
fied, if  indeed,  it  has  not  brought  his  mind  to  confusion.50 

He  continues  later: 

One  of  the  purposes  of  this  work  is  to  show,  by  refuting  an  almost  univer- 
sal belief  to  the  contrary,  that  elocution  can  be  scientifically  taught,  but  the 
manner  of  explanation  and  arrangement  in  too  many  of  these  garbled  school- 
book  compilations,  has  gone  far  towards  satisfying  the  objectors  that  it  can- 

on  the  voice  was  regarded  as  the  first  part  of  his 
o^ffitrrd;  'ttef  elt  that  the  Human  Intellect  was  essential 
to  the  un  Jef  s'taMing  of  the  Philosophy  and  should  have  been  published 
as  a  comj|anic»  work.  And  so  it  proved  to  be;  for  mid-twentieth 
century"  speech  pedagqgy,  m  keeping  with  Rush's  basic  views,  holds 


speech  to  be  a  total  physical  reaction  inseparable  from  thought,  action, 
and  emotion.  Some  teachers  of  speech  today,  however,  ridicule  what 
they  believe  to  be  the  mechanical  and  superficial  "system"  he  insti- 
gated, which  was  in  reality  a  popular  application  gaining  reputation 
before  his  major  investigation  of  mind  was  revealed  and  his  total 
philosophy  of  behavior  understood. 

After  editing  the  Philosophy  for  the  last  time  in  1866  (the  1879 
edition  was  a  reprint,  following  the  terms  of  his  will),  his  last  publi- 
cation was  Rhymes  of  Contract  on  Wisdom  and  Folly,  appearing  in 
the  year  of  his  death.  It  attempted  to  give  evidence  of  the  working 
principles  of  The  Natural  History  of  the  Intellect.  He  demonstrated  in 
his  writing  of  the  dialogue  in  rhyme  the  use  of  "natural  or  related  ties*' 
as  an  involuntary  process  of  thought  resulting  from  prior  perceptions. 
This  process  of  association  had  been  described  in  its  defective  state  by 
Dr.  Benjamin  Rush  as  "dissociations,"  52  and  no  doubt  referred  to  the 
disorder  known  today  as  "dysphasia."  "It  consists  not  in  false  percep- 
tion . . .  but  of  an  association  of  unrelated  perceptions,  or  ideas,  from 
inability  of  the  mind  to  perform  the  operations  of  judgment  and 
reason/' 53 

The  last  years  with  his  wife  prior  to  her  death  had  been  under 
estranged  conditions.  This,  together  with  his  failure  to  obtain  public 
approval  for  his  work,  embittered  him.  He  retired  from  the  society 
which  had  rejected  him,  to  become  a  recluse,  totally  disillusioned, 
much  misunderstood.  Just  prior  to  his  death  he  apparently  dictated  a 
final  statement  to  his  brother-in-law,  Henry  J.  Williams,  who  became 
executor  of  his  estate;  it  read:  "Dr.  James  Rush  died  in  1869  from 
difficulty  of  breathing  in  the  eighty-fourth  year  of  his  age."  54  It  was 
written  in  another  hand  (probably  that  of  Mr.  Williams  whose  initials, 
H.  J.  W.,  appear  in  the  left-hand  corner)  but  a  last  shaky  signature  of 
James  Rush  is  affixed  to  the  document.  His  will,  among  other  pro- 
visions, called  for  the  construction  of  a  library  building  to  be  given  to 
the  Library  Company  of  Philadelphia,  and  called  the  Ridgway  Branch, 
in  memory  of  his  wife.  In  it  were  to  be  housed  his  entire  private 
library  and  that  of  his  father,  whom  he  had  admired  and  unsuccessfully 
imitated.  This  collection  has  served  many  scholars  who  seek  after  the 
works  of  Benjamin  and  James  Rush.  In  a  memorial  tomb  in  the  Ridg- 
way Library,  James  Rush  rests  with  his  wife,  uncomforted  still  by  the 
"knock  of  friends"  and  too  often  misunderstood  by  a  profession  he 
accidentally  came  to  serve. 

As  a  medical  scientist  who  was  led  to  explore  the  entity  called  mind 
and  as  a  "voice  scientist"  who  rigorously  studied  vocal  behavior,  James 

DR.    JAMES   RUSH  235 

Rush  was  probably  the  first  investigator  to  see  that  mind  is  inseparable 
from  the  physical  phenomena  of  self-expression.  His  fellow  scientists, 
hampered  by  their  prejudices,  could  not  fairly  criticize  his  views. 
Overly-zealous  teachers  of  elocution,  misusing  the  information  of  his 
Philosophy,  earned  him  ill  repute  among  most  modern  teachers  of 
speech.  Perhaps  only  the  speech  historian  of  the  1950's  understands 
that  his  field  stands  in  heavy  debt  to  Dr.  Rush. 


1.  James  Rush,  The  Philosophy  of  the  Human  Voice:  Embracing  Its  Physio- 
logical History:  Together  with  a  System  of  Principles  by  Which  Criticism  in  the 
Art  of  Elocution  May  be  Rendered  Intelligible,  and  Instruction,  Definite  and  Com- 
prehensive. To  which  is  added  a  Brief  Analysis  of  Song  and  Recitative  (Philadel- 
phia, 1827).  Hereafter  cited  as  Philosophy.  Other  editions:  1833,  1845  1855  1859 
1867,  1879.  ' 

2.  See  The  Autobiography  of  Benjamin  Rush,  ed.,  George  W.  Corner  (Prince- 
ton, 1948).  Richard  Rush  had  become  Attorney  General  of  the  United  States  in 
1813  under  President  Monroe  and  it  would  have  been  most  embarrassing  to  him  if 
in  this  year  of  his  father's  death,  the  autobiography  were  released  to  the  public 
with  its  revelations  concerning  the  heroic  personalities  of  the  nation's  fathers.  Hence 
Richard  and  James,  even  after  much  deletion  and  editing,  agreed  to  prevent  its 
publication.  It  has  recently  been  published  after  it  came  into  the  possession  of  the 
American  Philosophical  Society  in  1943,  through  the  papers  of  Alexander  Biddle, 
grandson  of  Samuel  Rush,  a  brother  of  Richard  and  James,  who  had  taken  them 
"without  authority"  from  James'  Library. 

3.  For  example,  see  letter  of  Dr.  E.  Miller  to  Benjamin  Rush,  New  York,  July 
2,  1809.  Rush  Papers,  Library  Company  of  Philadelphia,  Ridgway  Branch. 

4.  Nathan  Goodman,  Benjamin  Rush,  Physician  and  Citizen   (Philadelphia 
1934),  pp.  254-255.  F 

5.  Medical  Inquiries  and  Observations  upon,  the  Diseases  of  the  Mind  3rd  ed 
(Philadelphia,  1827),  pp.  8-9. 

6.  Dugald  Stewart,  Elements  of  the  Philosophy  of  the  Human  Mind  (Brattle- 
boro,  1808),  [First  ed,  1792]. 

7.  James  Rush,  A  Brief  Outline  of  the  Analysis  of  the  Human  Intellect;  In- 
tended to  Rectify  the  Scholastic  and  Vulgar  Perversions  of  the  Natural  Purpose, 
and  Method  of  Thinking;  by  Rejecting  Altogether  The  Theoretic  Confusion,  The 
Unmeaning  Arrangement,  and  Indefinite  Nomenclature  of  the  Metaphysician,  2 
vols.  (Philadelphia,  1865),  II,  435-436.  Hereafter  cited  as  Human  Intellect. 

8.  Ibid,  II,  436. 

9.  Letters  of  Benjamin  Rush,  ed.  L.  H.  Butterfield,  2  vols.  (Princeton,  1951), 
I,  p.  Ixix. 

10.  Ibid.,  Benjamin  Rush  to  Mrs.  Rush,  July  16,  1791,  p.  600. 

11.  Human  Intellect,  II,  472. 

12.  Notation  by  Rush,  in  Rush  Papers,  December  14,  1835,  Ridgway  Branch, 
Library  Company  of  Philadelphia. 

13.  James  Rush,  Rhymes  of  Contrast  on  Wisdom  and  Folly.  A  Comparison  Be- 
tween Observant  and  Reflective  Age,  Derisively  Called  Fogie,  and  a  Senseless  and 
Unthinking  American  Go-Ahead.  Intended  to  Exemplify  An  Important  Agent  in  the 
Working  Plan  of  the  Human  Intellect  (Philadelphia,  1869),  p.  xi. 

14.  Mary  Rush  to  Rush,  August  10,  1834.  Rush  Papers. 

15.  Human  Intellect,  II,  474. 

16.  IWd.,1,9. 


17.  Human  Intellect,  I,  195.  Beginning  with  the  fourth  edition,  1855,  of  the 
Philosophy,  Rush  attempted  to  introduce  the  double  comma  as  a  punctuation  mark 
to  be  of  value  between  a  single  comma  and  a  semi-colon. 

18.  Human  Intellect,  1,  189. 

19.  Ibid.,  p.  4. 

20.  Ibid.,  II,  1. 

21.  Philadelphia  Evening  Bulletin,  July  12,  1900. 

22.  Human  Intellect,  II,  471. 

23.  Ibid.,  p.  472. 

24.  Ibid.,  p.  473. 

25.  Robert  Smith,  Harmonics,  or  the  Philosophy  of  Musical  Sounds  (London, 

26.  Human  Intellect,  II,  475. 

27.  Rush's  marginal  notation  in  his  personal  copy  of  John  Walker,  Elements  of 
Elocution  (Boston,  1810),  p.  244. 

28.  Philosophy  (1845),  p.  123. 

29.  Philosophy  (1859),  p.  503. 

30.  Philosophy  (1827),  pp.  548-549. 

31.  Among  other  authors  whose  books  Rush  used  are:  Rev.  James  Chapman, 
The  Music,  or  Melody  and  Rhythms  of  Language. . .  (Edinburgh,  1818);  William 
Cockin,  The  Art  of  Delivering  Written  Language;  or,  an  Essay  on  Reading . . . 
(London,  1775);  John  Dwyer,  An  Essay  on  Elocution  (Cincinnati,  1824);  William 
Enfield,  The  Speaker,  or  Miscellaneous  Pieces  Selected  from  the  Best  English 
Writers . . .  (London,  1835;  Dedication  dated  1774);  John  Foster,  An  Essay  on  the 
Different  Nature  of  Accent  and  Quality . . .  ( London,  1761 ) ;  Henry  Home  of  Kames, 
Elements  of  Criticism,  2  vols.  (Philadelphia,  1816);  John  Mason,  An  Essay  on 
Elocution  or  Pronunciation, . . .  (London,  1748 ) ,  An  Essay  on  the  Power  of  Num- 
bers, and  the  Principles  of  Harmony  in  Poetical  Composition . . .  (London,  1749), 
An  Essay  on  the  Power  and  Harmony  of  Prosaic  Numbers . . .  ( London,  1749 ) ; 
Abb6  Maury,  The  Principles  of  Eloquence:  Adapted  to  the  Pulpit  and  the  Bar, 
tr.  John  Neal  Lake  (London,  1793);  Lord  Monboddo,  Essays  on  the  Origin  and 
Progress  of  Language,  6  vols.  (Edinburgh,  1774);  Messieurs  du  Royal  Port,  The 
Art  of  Speaking:  In  Pursuance  of  a  Former  Treatise,  Intituled,  The  Art  of  Thinking 
(London,  1708);  Ebenezer  Porter,  Analysis  of  the  Principles  of  Rhetorical  Deliv- 
ery as  Applied  in  Reading  and  Speaking  ( Boston,  1827 ) ,  Art  of  Speaking  ( Phila- 
delphia, 1775);  Thomas  Sheridan,  A  Rhetorical  Grammar  of  the  English  Language, 
calculated  solely  for  the  Purposes  of  Teaching  Propriety  of  Pronunciation,  and  Just- 
ness of  Delivery . . .  (Philadelphia,  1783),  A  Course  of  Lectures  on  Elocution:  to- 
gether with  Two  Dissertations  on  Language . . .  (London,  1781),  Lectures  on  the 
Art  of  Reading  (London,  1798);  B.  H.  Smart,  A  Practical  Grammar  of  English 
Pronunciation*. .  (London:  John  Richardson,  1810),  The  Practice  of  Elocution, 
(London,  1826),  The  Theory  of  Elocution:  to  which  are  now  added,  Practical  Aids 
for  Reading  the  Liturgy  (London,  1826);  Sir  Joshua  Steele,  An  Essay  Towards 
Establishing  the  Music  and  Measure  of  Speech  to  be  Expressed  and  Perpetuated  by 
Peculiar  Symbols  (London,  1775);  W.  Thelwall,  Introductory  Discourse  on  the 
Nature  and  Objects  of  Elocutionary  Science  . . .  (London,  1805);  John  Walker,  A 
Key  to  the  Classical  Pronunciation  (Philadelphia,  1808),  A  Rhetorical  Grammar  in 
which  the  Common  Improprieties  in  Reading  and  Speaking  are  Detected . . .  ( Bos- 
ton, 1814),  Elements  of  Elocution,  being  the  Substance  of  a  Course  of  Lectures  on 
the  Art  of  Reading ...  2  vols.  (London,  1781 ),  The  Melody  of  Speaking  Delineated 
(London,  1787). 

32.  Philosophy  (1827),  p.  29  ff. 

33.  Ibid.,  p.  43. 

34.  Ibid.,  p.  82, 

35.  Ibid.,  p.  83. 

36.  See  note  31  for  writers  whose  books  were  among  those  available  to  Rush 
and  no  doubt  of  service  to  him. 

DR.    JAMES   RUSH  237 

37.  Philosophy  (1859),  p.  478  ff. 

38.  Philosophy  (1833),  p.  83. 

39.  Ibid.,  p.  90. 

40.  (Philadelphia,  1834). 

41.  From  a  section  of  the  Printer's  Copy  of  the  2nd  edition  of  the  Philosophy 
which  was  omitted  from  the  1833  edition. 

42.  Exercises  in  Reading  and  Recitation  (Baltimore,  1823). 

43.  Exercises  in  Reading  and  Recitation  (Albany,  1828). 

44.  A  Compendium  of  the  Principles  of  Elocution  on  the  Basis  of  Dr.  Rush's 
Philosophy  of  the  Human  Voice  ( Philadelphia,  1857 ). 

45.  Practical  Elocution  (Philadelphia,  1830). 

46.  Elocution  (Albany,  1828). 

47.  N.  A.  Reader  (Zanesville,  Ohio,  1836). 

48.  Garrick's  Mode  of  Reading  the  Liturgy  of  the  Church  of  England  (London 

49.  James  Rush's  letters,  Ridgway  Branch,  Library  Company  of  Philadelphia 

50.  Philosophy  (1845),  p.  xi.  * 

51.  Ibid. 

52.  Medical  Inquiries  and  Observations  upon  the  Diseases  of  the  Mind,  p  257 

53.  Ibid. 

54.  James  Rush  Papers. 

11     The  Literary  Society1 


When  a  multitude  of  young  men,  keen,  open-hearted,  sympathetic,  and 
observant,  as  young  men  are,  come  together  and  freely  mix  with  each 
other,  they  are  sure  to  learn  one  from  another,  even  if  there  be  no  one 
to  teach  them;  the  conversation  of  all  is  a  series  of  lectures  to  each, 
and  they  gain  for  themselves  new  ideas  and  views,  fresh  matter  of 
thought,  and  distinct  principles  for  judging  and  acting,  day  by  day. 
—JOHN  HENRY  NEWMAN,  The  Idea  of  a  University 

As  the  previous  studies  in  this  volume  have  indicated,  an  outstanding 
characteristic  of  the  early  American  college  was  its  tightly  knit  and 
closely  regulated  constitution.  Indeed,  one  might  conclude  from  an 
examination  of  the  college  laws  and  regulations  that  the  daily  life, 
social  as  well  as  curricular,  of  the  student  was  designed  "to  reduce  to  a 
minimum  the  time  the  devil  might  find  employment  for  idle  hands" 
and  idle  minds.2 

When  judged  by  modern  standards,  however,  the  colonial  student, 
despite  his  closely  supervised  schedule,  did  not  lead  a  particularly 
strenuous  life.  But  unless  he  strolled  within  bounds  or  indulged  in  the 
mild  forms  of  exercise  not  on  the  banned  list,  he  had  few  approved 
methods  of  consuming  his  surplus  energy.  The  company  of  young 
ladies  was  usually  forbidden  during  college  sessions.  Organized  ath- 
letics were  unheard  of.  And  even  the  privilege  of  reading  contemporary 
periodicals,  much  less  current  fiction,  was  denied  him  because  the 
ordinary  college  library  contained  few  if  any  "authors  who  have  wrote 
within  these  SO  years."  3 

The  company  of  his  fellow  scholars  was  practically  the  only  legit- 
of  escape  from  the  academic  routine  which  remained 
colonial  student.  It  is  to  be  expected,  therefore,  that 
societies  featuring  jovial  companionship  as  well  as  student-directed 
opportunities  for  parliamentary  practice,  oratory,  declamation,  debate, 
literary  efforts,  dramatic  "productions/'  and  reading,  material,  all  rela- 
tively free  from  faculty  censorship  and,  usually,  protected  from  "pry- 


ing"  eyes  by  high  walls  of  secrecy,  would  come  into  being  almost  from 
the  beginning  of  American  higher  education. 

Rise  of  the  Societies 

In  the  North  and  South 

Althoughrstudent  societies  of  a  religious  nature  had  existed  on  the 
American"  college""  campus  at  least  as  early  as  1716?  the  first  of  the  col- 
lege^literary  and  debate  societies  appears  to  have  been  the  Spy  Club 
of  "Harvard  which,  in  its  bylaws  of  1722,  was  stipulating: 

That  a  discourse  of  about  Twenty  minutes  be  made  at  every  meeting  by 
one  of  the  Society  on  any  Subject  he  pleaseth. 

That  any  Difficulty  may  be  proposed  to  the  Company  &  when  propos'd  the 
company  shall  Deliver  their  Thdts  upon  It. 

That  there  be  a  Disputation  on  Two  or  more  questions  at  every  Meeting, 
one  part  of  the  Company  holding  the  Affirmative,  the  other  the  Negative  part 
of  ye  Question.4 

By  1782,  Harvard  was  also  the  site  of  the  Philomusarian  Club,  con- 
certed "in  order— to  Stem  That  Monstrous  Tide  of  Impiety  &  Ignorance 
which  is  Like  to  Sweep  all  Before  it  &  for  Our  Mutual  advantage  & 
Emolum*. . . ," 5  and  in  1770,  of  the  Speaking  Club  of  Harvard,  later 
called  the  American  Institute  of  1770,  which  sternly  ruled  that  "no 
Member  shah1  speak  in  Latin  in  his  turn  nor  at  any  other  time  without 
special  Leave  from  the  President."  6 

At  Yale,  in  1753,  the  long-lived  Linonian  Society  was  founded, 
largely  through  the  efforts  of  President  Clap  (one  of  the  first  college 
administrators  to  recognize  the  importance  of  the  societies  as  under- 
graduate safety  valves  as  well  as  literary  and  forensic  proving  grounds) . 
But  even  earlier,  at  least  by  1750,  an  ephemeral  coUege  society,  the 
Critonian,  was  conducting  literary  sessions  in  New  Haven.  And  in  1768, 
the  second  major  Yale  society,  the  Brothers  in  Unity,  disputed  ques- 
tions of  its  choosing. 

Before  the  outbreak  of  the  Revolution,  other  colonial  chartered  col- 
leges witnessed  the  rise  of  undergraduate  and  graduate  student  so- 
cieties. On  November  11,  1750,  the  Flat  Hat  Club  was  founded  at 
William  and  Mary  and  included  Thomas  Jefferson  on  its  rolls,  while 
on  December  5,  1776,  the  Phi  Beta  Kappa  society  was  constituted  at 
the  Williamsburg  college  with  "Friendship  for  its  Basis,  Benevolence 
and  Literature  for  its  Pillars. . .  /'  and  with  the  assurance  to  its  initiates 
that  "now . . .  you  may  for  awhile  disengage  yourself  from  scholastic 
Laws  and  communicate  without  reserve  whatever  reflections  you  may 
have  made  upon  various  objects. . . ."  7 


Princeton,  then  the  College  of  New  Jersey,  appears  to  have  been 
the  scene  of  society  rivalry  early  in  its  history.  From  the  pioneering 
Plain-Dealing  and  Well-Meaning  clubs,  sprang  two  of  our  most  vig- 
orous college  societies,  the  American  Whig  in  1769  and  the  Cliosophic 
in  1770, 

Columbia  (King's  College)  also  had  active  forensic  societies  early 
in  its  history.  On  June  11,  1766,  the  New  York  Weekly  Gazette  or 
Weekly  Post  Boy  informed  its  readers  that  "Several  gentlemen  having 
thought  proper  to  form  themselves  into  a  ...  Literary  Society,  for  the 
encouragement  of  learning.,  have  raised  a  fund. . . ."  It  is  likely  that 
Alexander  Hamilton  belonged  to  this  or  similar  society  during  his  stay 
at  King's. 

Rutgers  (Queen's  College)  also  supported  at  least  two  pre-Revolu- 
tionary  societies.  Little  is  known  of  the  Polemic  other  than  a  reference 
to  its  existence  by  Simeon  De  Witt  in  a  letter  to  John  Bogart  dated 
February  14,  1778.  At  this  time,  however,  another  society,  the  Athe- 
nian, had  been  in  existence  "on  the  Banks"  for  five  years,  polishing  the 
minds  and  beautifying  the  manners  of  a  select  group  of  students,  fac- 
ulty members,  and  townsfolk. 

In  the  years  which  followed  the  war  and  particularly  in  the  first  two 
decades  of  the  nineteenth  century,  the  majority  of  the  longer  lasting 
societies  were  established  at  the  older  colleges.  Such  stalwarts  were 
activated  as  the  Hasty  Pudding  Club  of  Harvard  in  1795,  a  society 
which  even  in  its  infancy  mixed  such  stunts  as  the  breach  of  promise 
case  of  Dido  vs.  Aeneas  with  serious  debates  on  "questions  of  literature, 
morality  and  politics";  Philolexian  in  1802  and  Peithologian  four  years 
later  at  Columbia;  Philoclean  and  Peithessophian  at  Rutgers  by  1825; 
the  Misokosmian  (later  the  Philermenian)  in  1794  and  the  United 
Brothers  in  1806  at  Brown;  the  Social  Friends  in  1783  and  the  United 
Fraternity  in  1786  at  Dartmouth;  and  the  Philomathean  in  1813  and 
Zelosophic  in  1829  at  Pennsylvania. 

At  other  prominent  colleges  north  and  south  of  the  Mason-Dixon 
line,  strong  student  societies  were  functioning  soon  after  college  classes 
were  formed.  For  example,  three  years  after  the  receipt  of  its  charter, 
Dickinson  was  the  site  of  the  Belles  Lettres  Society  (in  1786),  As 
early  as  1795,  the  Debating  Society,  parent  of  the  Dialectic  and  the 
Concord  Societies,  was  featuring  debating,  composing,  reading,  speak- 
ing, and  parliamentary  procedure  at  North  Carolina.  In  1803,  scarcely 
two  years  after  the  opening  of  the  college,  Demosthenians  turned  on 
their  flow  of  oratory  at  the  University  of  Georgia.  At  Hamilton,  all 
students  were  expected  to  join  one  of  the  two  societies,  the  Phoenix 
and  the  Union,  which  were  founded  in  1812,  the  year  the  college  was 


In  the  West 

As  highep'-educajtion  spread  to  the  West,  the  literary  and  debate 
societies'  found  fertile  ground  and  were  amply  nourished  by  appreci- 
ative^ administrations  and  student  bodies  even  after  many  of  the  older 
Northern  and  Southern  organizations  were  in  a  period  of  decline. 

Atrthe  Ohio  colleges,  the  first  student  society  appears  to  have  been 
the  Zelothean  founded  at  Ohio  University  inj.812,  some  eight  years 
after  the  organization  of  the  college.  Other  Ohio  campuses  were  even 
more  receptive.  At  Western  Reserve,  Joseph  Welch  Barr,  a  transfer 
from  Hamilton,  helped  form  the  Philozetian  Society  six  weeks  before 
the  organization  of  a  faculty  at  the  college.  In  1830,  the  Adelphic  and 
Franklin  Societies  were  founded  at  Reserve  and  from  them  descended 
Phi  Delta.  Oberlin,  founded  in  1833,  had  its  share  of  vocal  student  or- 
ganizations shortly  after  its  doors  were  opened.  But  its  most  interesting 
claim  to  forensic  fame  lies  in  its  fostering  of  the  Young  Ladies'  Associa- 
tion "for  the  promotion  of  literature  and  religion"  in  1835,  the  first  of 
the  female  societies  in  our  colleges.  Also,  in  1835,  Denison,  founded 
four  years  earlier,  gave  its  support  to  the  Calliopean  Society  and,  in 
1843,  to  the  Franklin  Literary  Society,  important  forces  in  campus 
politics  as  well  as  in  literary  and  forensic  endeavors. 

In  Indiana,  the  colleges  were  as  active  forensically  as  their  Ohio 
counterparts  both  in  the  classroom  and  in  the  "halls"  of  the  student 
societies.  In  1830,  one  year  after  Indiana  University  emerged  from  its 
Seminary  days,  the  Athenian  Society  was  founded,  followed  by  the 
Philomathean  Society  in  1831.  At  little  Wabash,  the  Philomatheans 
dated  their  history  from  1834,  the  year  of  the  college  charter.  In  1835, 
the  Western  Literary  Society,  later  the  Euphronean,  was  chartered  by 
the  state.  Similarly,  DePauw  sponsored  the  Philological  Society  in  1870 
and  the  co-educational  Atlantis  Society  in  1873.  And  Notre  Dame, 
while  not  so  forensic-minded  as  other  Indiana  colleges,  harbored  such 
interesting  associations  as  the  St.  Cecilia  which,  according  to  the  1870 
catalog,  was  a  dramatic  and  musical  society  as  well  as  a  debating  club; 
and  the  Thespians,  a  pioneer  among  Indiana  collegiate  dramatic  asso- 
ciations in  1861. 

In  1850,  the  year  the  first  undergraduate  class  was  formed  at  the 
University  of  Wisconsin,  the  first  of  the  Madison  literary  societies  was 
established  at  a  faculty-sponsored  meeting.  Following  the  advent  of 
this  organization,  named  the  Athenian  by  Chancellor  John  Lathrop,  a 
number  of  other  societies  were  created  by  student  groups,  chief  among 
them  being  the  Hesperian  in  1853  and  the  Castalia,  a  women's  club, 
in  1864. 

Moving  farther  west,  the  pattern  was  repeated  at  the  major  state 


supported  colleges  in  Iowa.  At  the  State  University  in  1861,  but  one 
year  after  the  establishment  of  the  collegiate  department,  the  Zeta- 
gathian  Society  adopted  its  constitution,  followed  by  the  short-lived 
"Copperhead"  splinter  society,  the  Ciceronian,  in  1862,  and  the  Irving 
Institute  in  1864.  At  Ames,  the  Iowa  Agricultural  College  (Iowa  State 
College)  faculty  sponsored  the  co-educational  Philomathean  Society 
during  the  pre-collegiate  term  in  1868  and  in  1870  welcomed  the 
Bachelor  Society,  which  was  followed  in  1871  by  the  women's  Cliolian. 
As  higher  education  was  made  available  to  the  inhabitants  of  the 
far  west,  the  majority  of  the  college  administrators  followed  the  estab- 
lished practice  of  sponsoring  literary  and  debating  societies.  Accord- 
ingly, the  1868-1869  catalog  of  the  University  of  Deseret  (University 
of  Utah)  declared: 

Literary  Societies  will  be  found  among  the  attractive  and  beneficial  fea- 
tures of  the  University. 

They  will  be  organized  among  the  students,  and  have  for  their  objects  a 
theoretical  and  practical  training  in  oratory,  debate,  declamation,  composi- 
tion and  parliamentary  rule  and  order.8 

At  the  "pioneer  university  of  the  west,"  Willamette,  the  Philomath- 
ean Society  was  incorporated  by  the  Oregon  Territorial  Legislature 
in  1856,  three  years  after  the  college  was  chartered.  Unlike  most  of  the 
societies  of  this  period,  Philomathean  was  established  not  only  for 
students  but  also  for  faculty  members  and  college  sponsors.  Within 
the  next  seventeen  years,  something  new  was  added— two  sets  of 
brother  and  sister  societies,  Concordia  (ladies)  in  1861  and  Hesperian 
(men)  in  1865;  and  Alka  (men)  in  1866  and  Atheneum  (ladies)  in 
1870*  At  first,  three  joint  meetings  were  held  each  term.  By  1874, 
however,  only  one  joint  meeting  was  permitted  per  term  and  we  read 
that  "promiscuous  meetings  of  the  two  sexes  in  the  Society  Halls  .  .  . 
are  forbidden  except  when  some  member  of  the  Faculty  is  present  or 
special  permission  has  been  granted " 9 

Moving  south  along  the  Pacific,  we  note  that  in  1857,  Santa  Clara 
sponsored  the  first  meeting  of  the  Literary  Congress  which  divided  its 
members  into  two  houses,  the  Philalethic  Senate  and  the  Philhistorian 

Thus  by  the  time  of  the  Civil  War,  the  literary  and  debate  society 
had  extended  its  grasp  on  student  extracurricular  life  from  coast  to 

Scope  of  The  Societies— Debating 

As  their  records  indicate,  the  societies  were  catholic  in  the  distribu- 
tion of  their  energies  and  prescribed  such  varied  exercises  as  spelling 
(in  the  old  halls  of  Princeton)  and  declamation.  They  also  sponsored 


magazines,  imported  prominent  speakers,  and  conducted  elaborate 
exhibitions  for  the  edification  of  collegians,  faculty,  and  townsfolk.  But 
from  the  1820's  until  their  eventual/  decline,  society  energy,  in  the 
main,  was  concentrated  upon  society  debating. 

The  Forensic  Disputation 

IJJntil  the  rise  of  the  student  societies,  the  major  or,  in  many  instances, 
the  only  approved  method  of  conducting  academic  debate  in  many 
American  colleges  was  the  Latin  syllogistic  disputation.  Practically  un- 
changed since  its  inception  in  the  medieval  universities,  the  Latin 
exercise  was  an  important  part  of  most  early  curricula  and  a  feature  of 
college  exhibitions  and  commencements.  Its  format  was  strictly  gov- 
erned by  rules  laid  down  by  the  prevailing  texts  in  logic  and  differed 
but  slightly  whether  employed  as  a  teaching  and  testing  device  or  as 
a  medium  for  academic  display T\ 

As  indicated  by  BartholomewHbCeckermann's  Systema  Logicae,  pop- 
ular at  Harvard  in  the  seventeenth  century,  and  by  The  Improvement 
of  the  Mind,  by  the  prolific  eighteenth-century  writer,  Isaac  Watts,  the 
classroom  procedure  followed  this  regimen:  a  tutor  or  Professor,  often 
the  reverend  president,  selected  a  question  in  one  of  the  arts  or 
sciences  taught  in  the  college.  A  respondent  was  then  appointed  to 
defend  the  side  of  the  question  which,  in  the  opinion  of  the  tutor, 
represented  truth.  The  remaining  students  in  the  class  were  then  de- 
tailed to  act  as  opponents  with  the  express  duty  of  raising  logical 
objections  to  the  question  which  the  respondent  either  affirmed  or 

The  disputation  was  opened  by  the  respondent  who  first  read  a 
carefully  worded  Latin  discourse  in  which  he  stated  the  question,  de- 
fined and  delimited  the  question,  and  presented  his  strongest  logically 
constructed  arguments.  Each  of  the  opponents,  then,  made  his  objec- 
tion to  the  case,  drawn  up  in  the  form  of  a  syllogism  in  which  he  either 
denied  the  major  or  minor  premises  or  distinguished  between  the 
accepted  usage  of  key  words  and  the  manner  in  which  they  were  used 
by  the  respondent.  The  respondent,  in  turn,  attempted  to  vindicate  his 
argument  by  use  of  other  syllogisms  which  the  opponent  denied  or 
reinterpreted  until  the  objections  were  silenced  and  "truth"  triumphed 
logically.  The  tutor,  of  course,  was  always  on  hand  to  help  out  should 
the  respondent  falter  in  his  command  of  logic  and  Latin.10 

Founded  to  offset  the  uncompromising  rigidity  of  the  early  American 
academic  climate,  the  societies  were  quick  to  adopt  types  of  debate 
which  were  more  flexible  and  thus  more  suitable  to  the  contemporary 
scene  than  the  Latin  syllogistics.  As  their  minutes  indicate,  the  "Two 
or  more  questions  at  every  Meeting"  ordered  by  the  Spy  Club  consti- 


tution  in  1722  were  debated  in  English,  anticipating  the  earliest  rec- 
ord of  curricular  debating  in  die  mother  tongue  by  twenty-five  years. 
It  is  likely,  however,  that  the  early  English  disputations  resembled  the 
Latin  exercises  insofar  as  they  were  carefully  written  and  read  or  else 
committed  to  memory.  They  differed  from  the  syllogistics,  nevertheless, 
in  several  ways  other  than  the  linguistic.  In  the  first  place,  as  available 
examples  of  these  English  forensic  disputations  indicate,  the  use  of 
emotional  proof  forbidden  in  the  Latin  exercise  was  not  only  per- 
mitted but  encouraged  in  the  newer  method  of  argumentation.  In  the 
second  place,  although  logic  still  played  a  prominent  part  in  the  con- 
structive speeches  of  the  forensic  disputation,  the  syllogism  was  rele- 
gated to  a  minor  position.  And  while,  as  we  shall  see,  the  questions 
discussed  (or  debated)  were,  at  first,  closely  related  to  Latin  theses 
disputed  in  the  contemporary  classrooms,  a  change  in  emphasis  was 
not  long  in  coming. 

The  Extempore  Disputation 

Eventually,  of  course,  the  college  administrations  recognized  the 
value  of  the  student  initiated  exercise.  By  1747,  English  disputations 
were  being  held  in  Yale  classrooms  and  ten  years  later,  the  president 
and  fellows  of  Harvard  voted  "that  once  in  a  month  the  two  sen.r 
classes  have  their  disputations  in  English  &  that  in  the  forensic  man- 
ner  " al  But  by  that  time,  the  collegians  were  experimenting  with 

something  else.  On  November  6?  1766,  for  example,  the  Yale  Fellowship 
Club  minutes  inform  us  that  "the  meeting  was  opened  by  an  Extempore 
dispute  by  Bulkley,  Kimberly  and  Lyon."  12 

By  the  end  of  the  eighteenth  century,  many  of  the  societies  had 
adopted  the  extempore  disputation  as  an  additional  form  of  debate, 
although  one  cannot  determine  what  was  meant  by  the  term  "ex- 
tempore." At  William  and  Mary  in  1778,  the  minutes  of  Phi  Beta  Kappa 
indicate  that  the  extempore  was  an  impromptu  exercise:  "It  be  more- 
over strongly  recommended  to  the  other  members  as  an  additional  and 
improving  Exercise,  to  give  their  sentiments  extempore  on  the  same 
subject  after  hearing  the  others  [who  were  assigned  to  forensics]."  13 
But  when  the  Phi  Beta  Kappa  Society  of  Harvard  introduced  the 
extempore  debate  in  1785,  the  brothers  apparently  understood  the 
term  to  have  the  meaning  commonly  held  today,  for  the  debaters  were 
assigned  to  the  exercise  at  a  previous  meeting,  thus  giving  ample  time 
for  preparation  and  reasoned  consideration—a  provision  also  found  in 
the  laws  of  the  Alpha  chapter  of  New  Hampshire  in  1787  and  the 
United  Fraternity  of  Dartmouth  in  1793. 

As  early  as  April  10,  1783,  at  least  one  society  recognized  the  rel- 
ative importance  of  the  extempore  debate  to  would-be  lawyers  and 


legislators.  At  that  time,  the  Linonians  voted  that  "two  of  the  weekly 
meetings  out  of  three  be  opened  with  an  extempore  Dispute  and  the 

third  , . .  with  a  forensic  Dispute "  14  And  by  "extempore,"  the  Yale 

men  meant  well  prepared  but  not  read  or  memorized  constructive 
speeches,  even  though  their  intentions  often  outdistanced  their  per- 

In  1810,  the  United  Brothers  of  Brown  prescribed  extempore  de- 
bating as  the  debating  exercise  of  the  society,  a  provision  in  force  as 
late  as  July  7,  1855.  In  1831,  the  Phi  Beta  Kappa  Society  of  Harvard 
followed  suit,  and  by  the  middle  of  the  century,  many  society  consti- 
tutions carried  similar  provisions  although  the  forensic  exercise  was 
listed  in  some  constitutions  until  the  end  of  the  nineteenth  century. 

Toward  the  middle  of  the  century,  the  caliber  of  the  forensic  and 
extempore  disputations  was  so  high  in  the  societies  that  several  colleges 
dropped  the  exercises  from  the  curriculum.  Thus  at  Columbia,  on  Jan- 
uary 4, 1837,  the  trustees  were  informed  that  "no  exercises  in  extempo- 
raneous speaking  or  debating  were  required  from  the  Students,  as  there 
are  two  Societies ...  of  which  these  exercises  constitute  the  principal 
objects.*' ie 

Intersociety  Debating 

At  the  turn  of  the  century,  the  societies  made  another  important 
contribution  to  debate  history.  Motivated  by  an  intense  rivalry  which 
spurred  the  sister  societies  to  extreme  and,  occasionally,  ridiculous  out- 
bursts of  energy,  outstanding  debaters,  carefully  selected  and  condi- 
tioned by  their  sponsors,  "crossed"  arguments  at  public  exhibitions.  As 
early  as  1830,  the  Demosthenians  and  the  Phi  Kappas  met  at  the  Uni- 
versity of  Georgia.  Before  long,  challenges  and  counter  challenges  were 
exchanged  between  the  two  leading  societies  of  each  college  and  the 
annual  intersociety  debates  were  a  regular  campus  fixture.17 

Then  only  a  few  decades  after  the  first  intersociety  debates,  some- 
thing novel  was  introduced.  To  the  best  of  my  knowledge,  it  first  hap- 
pened at  Illinois  College  on  May  5,  1881.  There,  perhaps  stimulated  by 
the  interstate  oratorical  contest  held  in  Jacksonville  early  in  the  spring, 
the  Phi  Alpha  Society  of  Illinois  and  the  Adelphi  Society  of  Knox  met 
in  a  series  of  literary  contests,  Phi  Alpha  winning  the  debate,  and 
Adelphi  garnering  honors  in  declamation,  oratory,  and  essay  writing. 
And  the  following  day,  at  Kirkpatrick  Chapel,  in  New  Brunswick,  New 
Jersey,  the  three  representatives  of  Peithessophian  (then  struggling 
against  general  student  inertia)  successfully  upheld  the  status  quo 
against  the  representatives  of  New  York  University's  Philomathean 
Society,  who  argued  the  affirmative  of  "Resolved  that  the  only  limi- 
tations on  suffrage  in  the  United  States  should  be  those  of  age  and 


sex/'  Intercollegiate  decision  debating  had  arrived  and,  in  the  North, 
just  in  time  to  revive  undergraduate  and  faculty  interest  in  forensics.18 

Debate  Procedure 

Because  of  the  secret  nature  of  the  majority  of  the  societies  and 
because  of  the  relative  newness  of  academic  debating  in  the  vernacular, 
the  early  rules  and  regulations  for  the  forensic  and  extempore  exercises 
varied  greatly  from  society  to  society  and  from  college  to  college.  Even 
toward  the  middle  of  the  nineteenth  century,  there  was  little  agreement 
among  the  rival  organizations  as  to  the  selection  of  debaters  and  topics 
and  as  to  the  time  and  order  allotted.  Nor,  as  we  shall  see,  was  there  a 
set  pattern  within  the  societies. 

Selecting  the  Debaters 

The  majority  of  societies,  like  the  Speaking  Club  of  Harvard,  rotated 
all  exercises  among  the  various  performing  classes,  which,  in  turn,  were 
constituted  either  by  academic  seniority  or  alphabetical  distribution. 
Other  groups,  like  the  American  Whigs  in  1807,  provided  that  the  dis- 
putants "shall  be  appointed  by  the  moderator**  with  the  privilege  of 
entering  the  discussion  open  to  all  society  members  after  the  appointed 
disputants  had  completed  their  arguments.19  A  few  parliamentary 
minded  organizations  like  the  Society  of  Brothers  in  Unity  in  1783, 
selected  disputants  by  society  nomination  at  the  "preceding  evening." 20 
Societies  which  featured  impromptu  debates,  like  the  United  Frater- 
nity in  1857,  often  prescribed  that  the  disputants  volunteer  "as  the  role 
is  called  by  the  Secretary."  21  A  farsighted  variation  of  this  method  of 
appointing  debaters  was  adopted  by  still  other  societies  like  the  Lino- 
nian  in  1835,  when  they  voted  that  "whenever  the  requisite  number, 
shall  not  be  obtained  by  members  voluntarily  offering  themselves,  the 
deficiency,  shall  be  supplied  by  appointments  from  the  President."22 
Still  another  common  provision  in  the  society  constitutions  resembled 
the  regulation  of  the  Dialectic  Association  of  Oberlin  in  1839:  "The 
Exec  Committee  (President,  Vice-President,  and  Recording  Secretary) 
shall  appoint  four  disputants  to  occupy  not  over  15  minutes." 23 

The  Number  and  Order  of  Debaters 

In  general,  two  to  six  debaters  were  appointed  or  volunteered  for  the 
regular  debates  although  most  societies  provided  for  an  unlimited  num- 
ber of  volunteer  debaters  after  the  regular  speakers  had  performed. 
However,  one  cannot  generalize  so  easily  about  the  order  of  the  dis- 
putants. At  Brown,  for  example,  the  Philermenian  Society,  in  17983 
specified  that  "the  Disputants  shall  speak  in  the  following  order— the 
first  in  the  Affirmative  shall  open,  the  two  in  the  Negative  shall  close 


upon  him;  and  the  second  in  the  Affirmative  shall  close  upon  them; 
and  then  any  Member  may  have  liberty  to  offer  his  sentiments/' 24  At 
Columbia,  the  society  rules  merely  prescribed  that  the  "President  shall 
be  empowered  to  select  one  from  the  Affirm.  &  one  from  the  Neg.  to 
open  the  debate  . . ."  with  the  order  from  that  point  on  to  be  determined 
by  the  remaining  contestants.25  The  majority  of  societies,  however,  like 
the  Philoclean  of  Rutgers  in  1832,  required  the  affirmative  to  open  the 
debate,  each  side  speaking  alternately. 

Time  Allotted  for  Debate 

Although  a  few  societies,  like  those  at  Georgia  described  by  Professor 
Ellis  M.  Coulter  in  College  Life  in  the  Old  South,  turned  on  their  ora- 
tory as  early  as  nine  o'clock  on  a  Saturday  morning  and  forgot  to  shut 
it  off  until  the  night  had  almost  expired,  the  great  majority  of  societies 
held  their  regular  meetings  in  the  evening  and  their  constitutions 
strictly  regulated  the  time  allotted  to  the  regularly  appointed  and  the 
volunteer  debaters.  As  might  be  expected,  however,  there  was  little 
agreement  as  to  the  limitations.  Thus,  for  example,  the  Dialectic  Asso- 
ciation of  Oberlin  allotted  its  four  disputants  not  over  fifteen  minutes 
in  1839.  At  neighboring  Western  Reserve  in  1840,  Phi  Delta  allowed 
the  entire  division  assigned  to  debate  an  hour  and  a  half.  The  Phoenix 
Literary  Society  of  William  and  Mary  in  1872,  on  the  other  hand,  lim- 
ited the  two  to  four  debaters  (the  number  varied  according  to  the 
desires  and  the  persuasive  powers  of  the  president)  to  two  speeches  of 
not  less  than  three  minutes  but  not  more  than  fifteen  minutes.  With 
presidential  consent,  the  time  could  be  extended  to  twenty  minutes, 
beyond  which  society  consent  was  required  for  more  extensive  argu- 
mentation. And  the  Philermenian  Society  of  Brown,  as  late  as  June  12, 
1858,  ordered  that  the  "Polemics  shall  speak  only  once,  and  only  ten 
minutes  each,  before  the  question  is  given  to  the  society;  afterwards  no 
member  shall  speak  more  than  twice,  or  more  than  ten  minutes  at  each 
time,  without  the  consent  of  the  Society/7  26 

Judging  the  Debate 

Although  there  was  no  set  pattern  for  judging  the  formal  society 
debates,  most  groups  either  provided  for  decisions  by  the  president  or 
by  a  specially  appointed  critic  or  board  of  critics,  as  at  the  United  Fra- 
ternity as  early  as  1786  and  the  Linonian  Society  as  late  as  1878,  or  by 
a  majority  vote  of  the  society  members,  as  at  the  Cliosophic  Society  in 

In  the  eighteenth  century,  the  customary  basis  for  the  presidential 
or  society  decision  was  the  validity  or  the  merits  of  the  question.  Even 
as  late  as  1830,  the  minutes  of  the  Philolexian  Society  indicate  that 


Columbia  undergraduates  were  deciding  debates  according  to  the 
merits  of  the  question  and  not  according  to  the  arguments  advanced. 
Early  in  the  nineteenth  century,  however,  the  societies  began  to  pro- 
vide for  judging  contestants  according  to  their  argumentative  ability, 
as  at  the  Cliosophic  Society  in  1823  and  the  Philoclean  Society  in  1831. 
By  the  middle  of  the  nineteenth  century,  almost  all  the  major  societies 
provided  for  decisions  according  to  the  merits  of  the  debate.  But  a  num- 
ber of  the  older  societies,  like  the  Brothers  in  Unity  as  late  as  1861  and 
the  Linonian  Society  in  1863,  never  broke  entirely  with  the  past  and 
required  decisions  on  both  the  merits  of  the  question  and  the  merits 
of  the  debate,  the  president  determining  the  former,  the  society,  the 

Although  most  of  the  societies  followed  the  final  rebuttal  with  a  deci- 
sion and  then  went  on  to  other  business,  several  organizations  provided 
for  a  critical  analysis  of  the  debate  and  the  debaters.  In  1839,  the  Dia- 
lectic Association  called  for  the  president  to  criticize  the  performance 
of  all  speakers,  while  the  American  Whig  Society,  in  1848,  stipulated 
that  "It  shall  be  the  duty  of  the  Sub-Committee-to  sum  up  the  argu- 
ments that  have  been  advanced  and  decide  the  questions  according  to 
their  merits.  If  the  Committee  be  not  unanimous  then  shall  the  Speaker 
decide  between  them  stating  his  reasons;  after  which  the  decision  of 
the  House  shall  be  taken."27  And  in  1875,  the  Cliosophic  Society, 
which,  as  early  as  1823,  allowed  any  member  to  offer  Ms  sentiments 
on  the  debaters  and  the  merits  of  the  debate  after  the  decision,  wisely 
provided  for  a  critic  appointed  at  the  stated  meeting  whose  sole  duty 
it  was  to  give  the  HaH  a  "just  and  discriminating  criticism  upon  the 
merits  or  demerits  of  the  performance  as  well  as  upon  the  manner  of 
its  delivery/'  Then,  after  the  critique,  both  the  original  performance  and 
that  of  the  critic  were  discussed  by  the  brothers.28 

Subjects  Debated  in  the  Colleges 

Selecting  the  Topic 

After  the  second  decade  of  the  nineteenth  century,  the  majority  of 
undergraduate  societies  solved  the  difficult  problem  of  selecting  the 
topic  or  topics  for  debate  by  providing  for  specially  appointed  com- 
mittees which  either  reported  to  the  president,  who,  in  turn,  selected 
the  topic  from  a  list  of  topics  previously  prepared,  as  at  Cliosophic  in 
1823,  or  reported  directly  to  the  society,  as  at  Peithessophian  in  1827. 
Other  societies,  however,  followed  the  pattern  established  by  Phi  Beta 
Kappa  of  Harvard  in  1785  and  required  the  president  to  furnish  the 


topic,  a  practice  retained  by  Philolexian  as  late  as  1852.  And  several 
societies  experimented  with  regulations  like  those  adopted  by  the 
Philermenian  brotherhood  in  1794,  repealed  in  1798,  and  revived  in 
1812,  which  required  that  each  member  hand  in  two  questions  per  term. 
The  questions  were,  in  turn,  studied  by  a  committee  whose  member- 
ship was  constantly  changing.  Each  committee  then  debated  the  ques- 
tion it  selected. 

The  topics  that  were  debated  were  not  confined  by  strictly  observed 
rules  of  censorship,  as  a  rule,  although  the  Philological  Society  of  Penn- 
sylvania in  1807  censored  religious  and  political  topics,  the  American 
Whig  Society  in  1812  decried  the  introduction  of  atheistic  and  deistic 
topics,  and  the  Social  Friends  in  1834  and  the  Phoenix  Society  in  1872 
warned  against  the  use  of  religious  subjects.  In  general,  their  minutes 
indicate  that  when  societies  limited  the  area  of  debate,  the  limitations 
were  confined  to  the  commonly  accepted  areas  of  the  philosophical, 
political,  and  literary,  as  at  Cliosophic  in  1823  and  Peithessophian  in 

Topics  Debated 

Despite  the  restrictions  of  groups  like  the  Philological  Society,  the 
questions  debated  by  the  eighteenth-century  societies  often  bore  a  start- 
ling resemblance  to  the  metaphysical  and  philosophical  theses  defended 
by  respondents  at  commencement  and  classroom  syllogistics.  Thus  the 
Spy  Club  disputants  in  the  1720's  argued:  "Whether  the  Souls  of  Brutes 
are  Immortal?"  "Whether  the  happiness  of  Heaven  will  be  progressive?" 
and  "Whether  there  be  any  Infallable  Judge  of  Controversies." 29 

As  the  passing  century  introduced  pressing  secular  issues,  the  col- 
legians, while  retaining  an  interest  in  the  philosophical  and  the  reli- 
gious, evinced  an  evergrowing  concern  over  social  and  political  as  well 
as  student  problems.  The  following  topics  debated,  selected  at  random 
from  the  records  of  the  societies,  indicate  the  widening  range  of 

Phi  Beta  Kappa  of  William  and  Mary: 

The  Justice  of  African  Slavery.  February  27,  1779, 
Whether  an  Agrarian  Law  is  consistent  with  the  Principles  of  a  wise  Re- 
public. June  5,  1779. 
Is  Public  or  Private  Education  more  advantageous.  March  4, 1780. 

Athenian  Society  of  Rutgers: 

That  Motion  is  the  original  cause  of  Heat.  March  27,  1782. 

Whether  the  present  Trade  with  the  Enemy  is  disadvantageous  to  Amer- 
ica in  its  present  situation.  July  24,  1782. 

Whether  [there  is]  advantage  arising  from  the  Study  of  the  dead  Lan- 
guages. August  7,  1782. 


Linonian  Society  of  Yale: 

Whether  Emigration  from  Europe  to  America  would  be  beneficial  to  ye 

Latter March  17,  1791. 

Whether  a  sudden  emancipation  of  slavery  would  be  politic  in  the  state 

of  Connecticut.  June  19,  1794. 

Brothers  in  Unity  of  Yale: 

Whether  women  ought  to  be  admitted  to  a  share  in  civil  government. 

July  19,  1792. 

Would  a  separation  between  the  Northern  and  Southern  States  be  pol- 
itic  April  1,  1796. 

Cliosophic  Society  of  Princeton: 

Whether  ought  Jews  and  Deists  be  admitted  to  all  privileges  of  Ameri- 
can citizens.  August  5,  1792. 
Whether  debating  or  composition  be  more  improving.  May  27,  1794. 

The  early  decades  of  the  nineteenth  century  saw  the  trend  toward  the 
secular  continue,  with  topics  concerning  national  expansion,  suffrage, 
defense,  slavery,  representation,  international  relations,  crime  and  pun- 
ishment, national  economy,  and  educational  problems  predominant. 
Religious  and  "literary"  topics  were  not,  however,  ignored,  neither  was 
sex.  And  a  new  ingredient,  humor,  began  to  show  itself. 

Representative  questions  with  the  decision  of  the  judge  or  judges, 
whenever  noted  in  the  society  records,  follow: 

Ought  the  U.  States  to  take  Possession  of  the  Floridas?  Philolexian  Min- 
utes (Columbia),  November  7,  1819.  Negative. 

Ought  the  possession  of  property  to  be  held  indespensable  to  qualify  a 
voter?  United  Brothers  Minutes  (Brown),  May  1,  1813.  Affirmative. 

Ought  representatives  to  be  guided,  in  their  votes,  by  the  will  of  their 
constitutents?  Cliosophic  Minutes  (Princeton),  July  23,  1807.  Affirma- 
tive. Philomathean  Minutes  (Pennsylvania),  November  9,  1814. 

Should  the  Slaves  of  the  United  States  be  emancipated?  Clariosophic 
Minutes  (South  Carolina),  1812.  Affirmative. 

Was  the  conduct  of  the  Governors  of  Connecticut  &  Massachusetts  jus- 
tifiable in  refusing  to  call  out  the  militia  at  the  request  of  the  general 
Government?  Linonian  Minutes  (Yale),  December  21,  1813.  Nega- 

Ought  the  regulations  of  Yale-College  to  be  such,  that  students  destined 
to  different  professions,  might  have  an  opportunity  to  pursue  differ- 
ent courses  of  study.  Linonian  Minutes  (Yale),  June  7,  1810. 

Is  it  probable  that  Russia  will  ever  be  able  to  destroy  the  balance  of 
power  in  Europe?  Philolexian  Minutes  (Columbia),  November  13, 
1819.  Affirmative. 

Are  capital  punishments  beneficial  or  detrimental  to  a  nation?  American 

Whig  Minutes  (Princeton),  February  15,  1813.  Beneficial. 
Whether  it  is  just,  &  equitable,  that  old  batchelors  should  be  taxed  for 
the  support  of  old  maids?  Philolexian  Minutes  (Columbia),  June  13, 
1817.  Negative. 


The  period  1820  to  1840  found  the  societies  stronger  than  ever  and 
rapidly  multiplying  in  number.  And  as  they  solidified  their  hold  on 
campus  extracurricular  life,  they  confidently  passed  judgment  on  most 
of  the  problems  that  faced  their  elders  and  on  several  that  educators 
and  statesmen  had  passed  by. 

Slavery  and  secession,  of  course,  continued  to  attract  much  attention, 
particularly  in  light  of  the  secessionist  threats  of  South  Carolina.  Sur- 
prisingly, the  records  of  the  Southern  societies  indicate  that  the  col- 
legians did  not  commit  themselves  wholeheartedly  to  the  cause  of 
slavery,  although  one  must  remember  that  decisions  were  now  being 
given,  in  the  main,  according  to  the  merits  of  the  debating.  The  follow- 
ing questions  and  decisions  are  representative: 

Is    enslavement    of   human   beings    justifiable?    Phi    Kappa    Minutes 

(Georgia),  May  10,  1828.  Negative. 
If  South  Carolina  should  secede  from  the  Union  ought  the  Southern 

states  to  assist  her?  Demosthenian  Minutes  (Georgia),  September  18? 


In  general,  although  there  were  strong  exceptions,  the  Northern  and 
Western  societies  voted  against  the  position  of  the  Southern  states: 

Is  the  holding  of  Slaves  justifiable?  American  Whig  Minutes  (Prince- 
ton), January  17,  1820.  Affirmative. 

Has  a  state  the  right  to  withdraw  from  the  Union  at  pleasure?  Linonian 
Minutes  (Yale),  April  4,  1832.  Negative. 

Ought  the  government  of  the  U.S.  resort  to  force  to  secure  the  obedience 
of  S.  Carolina?  Philolexian  Minutes  (Columbia),  December  14,  1832. 

Other  national  problems  also  occupied  the  attention  of  the  under- 
graduate debaters.  Of  particular  importance  was  westward  expansion, 
now  closely  aligned  with  the  spread  of  slavery.  In  general,  the  Southern 
societies  voted  for  expansion  if  it  favored  the  position  of  the  South.  The 
reaction  of  the  rest  of  the  collegians  was  mixed: 

Should  Missouri  be  admitted  to  the  Union,  without  the  abolition  of 
slavery?  Cliosophic  Minutes  (Princeton),  January  26,  1820.  Negative. 

Would  a  peaceable  accession  of  the  Canadas  be  beneficial  to  the  United 
States?  Pbilomathean  Minutes  (Pennsylvania),  March  29,  1820.  Af- 
firmative. Brothers  in  Unity  Minutes  (Yale),  July  8,  1829.  Negative. 

Indian  affairs,  which  previously  had  excited  but  little  interest,  now 
furnished  many  debate  topics,  especially  in  the  North: 

Are  not  the  insurrections  of  the  Indians  of  our  country  justifiable  on  the 
the  same  grounds  which  prompted  the  Fathers  of  our  country  to  re- 
volt from  the  British  yoke?  American  Whig  Minutes  (Princeton), 
November  5,  1832.  Affirmative. 


Ought  Georgia  to  extend  jurisdiction  over  the  Cherokee  nation?  Linonian 
Minutes  (Yale),  February  8,  1832.  Negative. 

Suffrage  also  furnished  many  topics  for  debate— with  a  noticeable 
but  by  no  means  overwhelming  liberalization  in  attitude  evinced  by 
the  critics: 

Ought  the  members  of  legislative  bodies  be  required  to  possess  a  cer- 
tain amount  to  Property.  Euphradian  Minutes  (South  Carolina), 
March  1,  1834.  Negative.  Cliosophic  Minutes  (Princeton),  Novem- 
ber 30,  1825.  Affirmative. 

Ought  the  right  of  suffrage  to  be  extended  to  citizens  universally?  Clio- 
sophic Minutes  (Princeton),  June  6,  1832. 

Education  remained  a  popular  subject.  In  the  South,  there  was  little 
change  in  the  wording  of  the  questions  or  in  the  recorded  attitudes.  In 
other  parts  of  the  country,  however,  there  was  an  increasing  scepticism 
toward  prevailing  educational  practices: 

Is   a  classical   education  necessary  to   eminence  in   any  profession? 

Adelphic  Minutes  (Western  Reserve),  June  1, 1830.  Negative. 
Is  the  present  system  of  College  education  calculated  for  entrance  into 

practical  life?  Philolexian  Minutes    (Columbia),   March  28,   1834. 


As  might  be  expected,  sex  was  of  some  interest  to  disputants,  espe- 
cially in  the  South: 

Should  seduction  be  considered  a  capital  crime?  Cliosophic  Minutes 
(South  Carolina),  January  15,  1831.  Negative. 

...  a  man  should  be  compelled  by  law  to  marry  the  victim  of  his  seduc- 
tion. Phi  Kappa  Minutes  (Georgia),  1831.  Affirmative. 

International  affairs  still  appealed  to  the  society  debaters,  although 
not  to  the  extent  as  did  national  issues.  The  following  were  among  the 
many  questions  considered: 

Have  we  any  cause  to  fear  the  growing  power  of  Russia?  Cliosophic 
Minutes  (Princeton),  August  23,  1820.  Affirmative. 

Would  it  he  prudent  and  politic  for  the  United  States  to  form  a  treaty 
offensive  with  the  Republics  of  South  America?  Phi  Kappa  Minutes 
(Georgia),  February  8,  1826.  Negative. 

Although  religion  did  not  enter  the  debate  lists  as  in  former  years, 
except  for  the  South,  even  the  Northern  and  Western  collegians  were 
vitally  concerned  with  such  "problems"  as: 

Is  the  increase  of  Catholicism  in  the  United  States,  ominous  of  evil? 

Adelphic  Minutes  (Western  Reserve),  October  13,  1820.  Affirmative. 
Which  has  been  the  most  prejudicial  to  mankind— Popery  or  Infidelity? 

Linonian  Minutes  (Yale),  June  14,  1820.  Popery. 


And  despite  the  predominance  of  the  vital  and  the  timely,  the  socie- 
ties continued  to  debate  such  "old  saws"  as  the  execution  of  Mary  of 
Scotland  and  the  relative  military  merits  of  Caesar  and  Hannibal. 

During  the  period  1840  to  I860,  the  Southern  societies  retained  much 
of  their  vigor.  The  younger  Western  societies  continued  to  expand. 
And  even  in  the  old  Northern  halls,  where  the  exercises  were  often 
cancelled  because  of  the  lack  of  preparation,  debating  remained  the 
primary  exercise. 

As  in  the  previous  decades,  only  the  bounds  of  curiosity  confined  the 
limits  of  the  debate  topics.  There  was,  however,  a  slight  change  in  the 
frequency  of  the  topics  entertained.  International  affairs  and  foreign 
policy  edged  out  slavery  and  secession  in  many  societies  as  the  war 
clouds  threatened,  and  in  the  West  education  became  increasingly 
popular  as  a  source  for  debate  topics.  It  is  interesting,  also,  to  note  that 
many  of  the  Southern  societies  abandoned  the  objectivity  which  marked 
much  of  their  previous  argumentation  concerning  slavery.  Partisanship 
was  generally  the  order  after  1850  although  some  debaters  (and  some 
of  their  elders)  hoped  for  compromise. 

An  idea  of  the  interests,  attitudes,  and  widespread  intellectual  curios- 
ity of  the  undergraduates  may  be  obtained  from  the  following  random 
listing  of  topics  debated  from  1840  to  1860: 

Would  a  congress  for  international  arbitration  be  desireable  and  prac- 
ticable? PMermenian  Minutes  (Brown),  April  19,  1851.  Negative 

Would  it  be  expedient  for  the  U.S.  to  grant  the  petition  of  the  Canadas 
requesting  admission  into  the  Federal  Union?  Phi  Delta  Minutes 
(Western  Reserve),  April  2,  1845.  Negative. 

Resolved  that  a  dissolution  of  the  Union  would  be  beneficial  to  the 
South.  Licivyronian  Minutes  (William  and  Mary),  October  26,  1844. 

Should  South  Carolina  take  the  lead  in  the  Southern  cause?  Euphradian 
Minutes  (South  Carolina),  March  27,  1858.  Affirmative. 

Should  Negroes  be  admitted  to  Yale  College?  Brothers  in  Unity  Min- 
utes (Yale),  March  16,  1859. 

Should  a  larger  part  of  the  college  course  be  devoted  to  the  study  of  the 
English  language  and  literature?  Phi  Delta  Minutes  (Western  Re- 
serve), February  26,  1859. 

Resolved  that  the  present  method  of  spelling  is  preferable  to  the 
Phonetic  method.  Young  Ladies  Literary  Society  Minutes  (Oberlin), 
May  5,  1852. 

Ought  the  U.S.  Gov.  to  suppress  Mormonism  by  force?  Dialectic  Asso- 
ciation Minutes  (Oberlin),  September  10,  1844. 

Are  laws  prohibiting  immigration  in  any  case  justifiable?  Clariosophic 
Minutes  (South  Carolina),  January  29,  1842.  Negative. 

Is  the  tariff  for  manufacturing  for  the  country's  good?  Erosophic  Min- 
utes (Alabama),  May  31,  1845. 

Resolved  that  the  right  of  suffrage  should  be  granted  to  females.  Young 
Ladies  Association  Minutes  (Oberlin),  October  9,  1850. 


Resolved-That  the  sale  of  ardent  spirits  ought  to  be  prohibited  by  law. 

United  Brothers  Minutes  (Brown),  September  30,  1854, 
Is  Masonry  compatible  with  our  free  institutes?  Phi  Delta  Minutes 

(Western  Reserve),  December  23,  1840. 

Although  the  Western  societies  continued  to  sponsor  vigorous  literary 
sessions  throughout  the  period  1860-1881,  the  older  societies  of  the 
South  and  the  North  were  not  so  fortunate,  and  many  expired  during 
the  war  or  shortly  thereafter.  Largely  responsible  for  their  decline  was 
the  rise  of  athletics,  the  popularity  of  the  social  fraternities,  the  compe- 
tition of  music  clubs,  dramatic  clubs,  and  similar  specialized  organiza- 
tions, the  slow  but  gradual  liberalization  of  the  curriculum  with  a 
consequent  influx  of  non-forensic  minded  students,  the  spread  of 
the  periodicals  and  other  competing  forms  of  communication,  and  the 
loosening  of  administrative  regulations  which  removed  many  of  the 
initial  causes  for  the  founding  of  the  societies.  But  where  the  adminis- 
trations were  young  and  vigorous,  as  in  the  West,  or  where  tradition 
was  hallowed,  as  at  Princeton,  the  societies  held  their  own.  And  where 
the  societies  remained,  forensics  were  featured. 

In  the  South,  immediately  preceding  the  conflict,  student  attention, 
as  in  the  period  1840  to  1860,  was  largely  centered  about  the  problems 
introduced  by  slavery  and  national  policies  with  some  attention  paid  to 
sex  and  the  ancient  academic  "saws."  Once  the  war  started,  however, 
there  was  relatively  little  time  spent  on  vital  issues.  Escape  topics  fur- 
nished most  of  the  subjects  for  what  debating  was  done.  But  once  the 
war  ended,  the  awakening  or  surviving  societies  returned  to  a  semblance 
of  their  former  concern  over  national  and,  to  a  lesser  degree,  interna- 
tional affairs,  and  to  heated  discussions  of  the  old  "saws"  which  con- 
tinued to  appeal  to  the  oratorically-minded  Southern  speaker. 

Remaining  records  indicate  that  the  Northern  halls  retained  their 
interest  in  affairs  of  state  throughout  the  entire  pre-war  and  war  years, 
although  several  societies  with  a  large  Southern  membership,  like 
Cliosophic  of  Princeton,  eschewed  the  discussing  of  embarrassing  topics 
until  the  war  was  almost  over.  For  a  time,  the  old  ethical,  literary,  and 
historical  questions  made  a  strong  comeback,  but  toward  the  end  of  the 
period  they  were  greatly  outnumbered  by  topics  taken  from  the  vital 
and  pertinent  areas  of  national,  local,  and,  to  a  lesser  degree,  interna- 
tional affairs. 

In  the  West,  student  interest  in  slavery  and  its  resultant  complica- 
tions was  sustained  throughout  the  entire  period.  During  the  war,  topics 
drawn  from  governmental  policies  and  the  field  of  education  were  par- 
ticularly popular.  And  after  the  war,  the  period  of  reconstruction  stimu- 
lated many  debates  on  national  policies.  The  problems  concerning 
expansion  and  international  happenings  also  appealed  to  society  men. 


In  general,  we  can  conclude  that  Northern  and  Western  debaters, 
during  the  18707s  and  the  beginning  of  the  1880's,  were  primarily  inter- 
ested in  national,  local,  and  international  policies  in  that  order,  with  a 
range  of  interest  that  compares  very  favorably  with  that  displayed 

A  sampling  of  the  more  popular  topics  debated  by  collegians  through- 
out the  country  follows: 

Should  the  South  secede  if  Lincoln  is  elected?  Demosthenian  Minutes 
(Georgia),  October  13,  1860. 

Ought  Pres.  Johnson  to  be  impeached  for  treason  at  the  coining  session 
of  Congress?  Linonian  Minutes  (Yale),  October  31,  1866.  Euphra- 
dian  Minutes  (South  Carolina),  February  23,  1867. 

Resolved  that  a  student  should  pursue  his  college  course  with  refer- 
ence to  some  profession.  Dialectic  Minutes  (Oberlin),  November  6, 

Resolved  that  all  studies  should  be  made  elective  during  Junior  and 
Senior  years.  Philolexian  Minutes  (Columbia),  March  9,  1871.  Af- 

Should  education  be  made  compulsory  in  Alabama?  Eiosophic  Min- 
utes (Alabama),  April,  1878. 

Would  a  general  congress  of  nations  be  expedient?  Phi  Delta  Minutes 
(Western  Reserve),  March  14,  1860.  Affirmative. 

Should  the  negro  be  permitted  to  vote  for  elective  offices?  Demosthenian 
Minutes  (Georgia),  March  26,  1867. 

Ought  the  United  States  to  permit  unlimited  immigration?  Brothers  in 
Unity  Minutes  (Yale),  January  11,  1870. 

Resolved  that  athletics  are  carried  to  excess  in  the  prominent  American 
Colleges.  Philolexian  Minutes  (Columbia),  November  11,  1880. 

Does  art  or  nature  contribute  more  to  the  beauty  of  the  ladies  of  the 
present  day?  Cliosophic  Minutes  (Princeton),  November  9,  1866. 

Is  language  of  Divine  Origin?  Peithessophian  Minutes  (Rutgers),  Feb- 
ruary 4,  1870.  Affirmative. 

Resolved  "that  communism  is  a  practical  and  desireable  method  of  gov- 
ernment." Phi  Delta  Minutes  (Western  Reserve),  December  17,  1881. 

Ought  public  opinion  be  regarded  as  the  standard  of  right?  Clariosophic 
Minutes  (South  Carolina),  April  19,  1873. 

Ought  there  to  be  any  legislation  in  regard  to  strikes?  Brothers  in  Unity 
Minutes  (Yale),  July  6,  1864.  Negative. 

Ought  our  Railroads  to  be  in  the  hands  of  the  Government?  Phi  Kappa 
Minutes  (Georgia),  March  16,  1869. 

Ought  the  Young  men  of  Alabama  to  seek  their  fortunes  in  other  States? 
Philomathic  Minutes  (Alabama),  April  30,  1875. 

The  Little  Republics 

We  have  endeavored  to  trace  the  origin  of  the  literary  and  debat- 
ing societies  and  we  have  examined  the  scope  and  influence  of  their 
major  literary  exercise,  debating.  From  such  a  survey,  we  can  readily 


conclude  with  William  Jennings  Bryan  that  the  societies  were  "an  im- 
portant factor  in  school  life. . . ." 30  But  to  many  college  men  of  the 
eighteenth  and  nineteenth  centuries,  the  societies  were  more  than  stu- 
dent safety  valves  or  substitutes  for  inadequate  contemporary  curricula. 
They  were,  as  to  William  H.  Seward,  by  far  the  most  important  part 
of  the  educational  system,31  Although  within  the  physical  confines  of 
the  colleges  ancl,  consequently,  subject  to  college  regulations,  the  socie- 
ties were,  in  many  respects,  little  republics,  possessing  a  student-cen- 
tered and  a  student-administrated  discipline  complete  with  awards  and 
punishments,  carefully  guarded  rituals,  specifically  prescribed  but  easily 
amended  exercises,  and,  frequently,  comfortable  and  even  elaborate 
quarters.  For  the  Madisons,  Websters,  Calhouns,  Choates,  Evarts, 
Stones,  Wilsons,  and  their  contemporaries,  they  furnished  a  climate  of 
opinion  and  a  format  for  developing  talents  and  personalities  unequaled 
by  any  other  facet  of  college  life  or  instruction— then  or  now.32 

A  perusal  of  college  histories  indicates  that  Jacob  Beam's  estimation 
of  the  importance  of  the  American  Whig  Society  to  its  members  during 
the  nineteenth  century  could  be  applied  to  most  American  literary 
and  debating  societies  during  the  eighteenth  and  early  nineteenth 

Throughout  the  century  Whig  stood  to  its  members  as  something  within  the 

physical  limits  of  the  College  yet  above  it  and  transcending  it Hence,  we 

hear  with  no  surprise  of  the  established  principle  that  all  collegiate  exercises 
are  to  be  neglected  before  the  exercises  of  this  institution  (1813) ;  of  the  de- 
bate decided,  of  course,  in  the  affirmative  "Are  the  exercises  of  this  Hall  of 
more  importance  than  the  studies  of  the  College?"  (1821),  and  the  settled 
conviction  many  years  later:  "It  is  an  acknowledged  fact  that  the  Hall  train- 
ing is  as  great  a  feature  in  the  development  of  the  intellectual  life  of  the  Col- 
lege as  any  two  departments  of  instruction"  (1893).33 

Founded  to  circumvent  the  social,  literary,  and  forensic  limitations 
of  the  early  American  colleges,  secret  student  clubs  or  societies  closely 
followed  the  founding  of  institutions  of  higher  learning  throughout  the 
country.  Soon  recognized  by  college  administrations  as  valuable  edu- 
cational adjuncts  and  safety  valves,  the  societies  flourished  throughout 
the  country  until  the  middle  of  the  nineteenth  century.  Then,  especially 
in  the  North,  the  rise  of  challenging  extracurricular  and  social  organi- 
zations, the  gradual  liberalization  of  the  curriculum,  and  the  changing 
complexion  of  the  undergraduate  body  caused  many  of  the  old  organi- 
zations to  lessen  in  influence  and  activity.  In  the  South,  the  Civil  War 
weakened  many  colleges  and,  consequently,  the  college  societies.  After 
the  war,  the  societies  never  attained  their  earlier  measure  of  popularity. 
In  the  West,  however,  sponsored  by  strong  administrative  pressure,  the 
societies  continued  to  grow  in  prestige  until  the  end  of  the  nineteenth 


century,  when,  as  in  the  North  and  South,  intercollegiate  debating  tem- 
porarily gave  the  old  organizations  new  life. 

During  the  period  of  their  greatest  influence,  the  societies  initiated 
many  relatively  new  forms  of  debate  and  set  up  the  framework  for 
academic  debating  as  we  know  it  today.  More  than  that,  they  furnished 
a  place  for  college  youth  to  try  its  literary,  oratorical,  and  forensic  wings 
under  the  aegis  of  a  closely  knit  social  organization. 

To  students  of  education  in  general  and  of  speech  in  particular,  the 
societies,  through  their  records  of  topics  debated  and  the  methodologies 
involved,  offer  an  insight  into  the  development  of  important  contempo- 
rary forms  of  debate  and  an  understanding  of  the  problems  which 
faced  our  ancestors.  To  some  of  us,  they  engender  nostalgia. 


1.  In  order  to  prevent  these  notes  from  assuming  unwieldy  proportions  while 
still  retaining  a  primary  function  of  indicating  hard  to  find  original  sources,  I  have 
omitted  all  references  to  the  histories  and  catalogs  of  colleges  mentioned  in  the  text 
except  when  material  has  been  quoted.  Also,  I  have  eliminated  references  to  the 
sources  of  literary  society  records  except  in  the  case  of  several  direct  quotations. 
The  reader  will  notice  that,  whenever  feasible,  I  have  indicated  the  name  of  the  so- 
ciety and  the  exact  date  of  the  minutes  or  constitution  consulted,  so  that  the  original 
records,  found  for  the  most  part  in  the  libraries  of  the  respective  colleges,  can  be 
traced  with  little  difficulty. 

I  should  like  to  acknowledge  my  indebtedness  to  Dr.  Frank  B.  Davis,  whose 
"Literary  Societies  of  Selected  State  Universities  of  the  Lower  South/'  unpublished 
Ph.D.  dissertation,  Louisiana  State  University,  1949,  furnished  the  topics  listed 
under  the  headings  cf  the  Clariosophic,  Euphradian,  Demosthenian,  and  Phi  Kappa 
societies;  and  to  Dr.  Donald  BL  Ecroyd,  who  supplied  the  data  listed  under  the 
headings  of  the  Philomathic  and  Erosophic  societies  of  Alabama. 

2.  Alexander  Cowie,  Educational  Problems  at  Jale  College  in  the  Eighteenth 
Century  (New  Haven,  1936),  p.  6. 

3.  Thomas  Clap,  The  Annals  of  Yale  College  (New  Haven,  1766),  p.  86.  See 
also  John  A,  Kouwenhoven,  "The  New  York  Undergraduate  1830-50,"  Columbia 
University  Quarterly,  XXXI  (June,  1930),  93-103. 

4.  William  C.  Lane,  "The  Telltale,  1721,'*  Publications  of  the  Colonial  Society 
of  Massachusetts,  XXI,  227-228. 

5.  Julius  H.  Tuttle,  "The  Philomusarian  Club,"  Publications  of  the  Colonial 
Society  of  Massachusetts,  XVIII,  79-84. 

6.  Records  of  the  Speaking  Club,  177-1781,  I,  31.    (MS.  in  the  Harvard 
University  Archives.) 

7.  The  Original  Phi  Beta  Kappa  Minutes,  pp.  29,  31. 

8.  Quoted  in  a  letter  written  by  Miss  Lora  Wheeler,  Reference  Librarian,  Uni- 
versity of  Utah,  dated  November  10,  1950. 

9.  Robert  M.  Gatke,  Chronicles  of  Williamette  (Portland,  1943),  p.  292. 

10.  See  David  Potter,  Debating  in  the  Colonial  Chartered  Colleges  (New  York) 
1944,  pp.  5-32,  128-130. 

11.  College  Records,  September  17,  1750-April  23,  1778,  a  Copy  of  College 
Book  No.  7,  p.  93.  (MS.  in  the  Harvard  University  Archives.) 

12.  Yale  University  Fellowship  Club  Records,  Nov.  6,  1766-Feb.  6,  1767,  (MS. 
in  the  Yale  University  Library.) 

13.  The  Original  Phi  Beta  Kappa  Minutes,  p.  22. 


14.  Records  of  the  Lineman  Society,  1768-1790.  (MS.  in  the  Yale  University 

15.  Aaron  Dutton  (A  dissertation  of  the  manner  of  rendering  the  exercises  of  the 
Linonian  Society  pleasing  and  useful,  Orations  and  Dissertations  of  the  Linonian 
Society,  1772-1802,  pp.  39-40.  MS.  in  the  Yale  University  Library)  puts  it  nicely: 
"Extempore  disputation  requires  as  much  study  as  written  composition,  &  perhaps 
more  . . .  [But]  very  many,  who  dispute  extempore,  pay  little  or  no  attention  to  the 
question,  till  they  come  into  the  society,  &  depend  principally  upon  the  arguments 
&  observations,  which  the  occasion  shall  suggest." 

On  the  other  hand,  some  ideas  of  how  much  time  at  least  one  forensic  disputant 
spent  on  preparing  his  society  parts  can  be  had  by  noting  the  following  entries  in 
John  Barent  Johnson's  diary  ("Diary  kept  by  John  Johnson,  April  10th,  1788  & 
Beginning  of  1789."  MS.  in  the  Columbiana  Section  of  the  Columbia  University 
Library):  ,  _  r 

January  16,   1789.  ". . .  home  8  -Sat  up  very  late  in  writing   a   Dispute  tor 

Columbia  Col.  Society." 

January  26,  1789.  "  . .  wrote  part  of  a  dispute  for  Theol.  Society 

January  27,  1789.  ". . .  stud  Greek-~&  wrote  a  little  (Disp.) " 

February  6,  1789.  "Stud.  Dispute  for  to-morrow." 

16.  Minutes  of  the  Trustees  of  Columbia  College,  III,  Part  2,  6  May  1828  to  4 
December  1837,  p.  1738    Typed  MS.  in  Columbia  University  Library.  See  also 
Catalogue  of  the  Officers  and  Students  of  Brown  University  . . .  1829-30,  p.  18. 

17.  E.g.,  Constitution  of  the  American  Whig  Society,  1875,  p  204.  MS.  in  the 
Princeton  University  Library. 

18.  "Friendly,"  or  non-decision  debates  occurred  at  an  even  earlier  date.  For 
example,  Northwestern's  Hinman  Society  and  Chicago's  Tri  Kappa  Society  first  met 
in  1873. 

19.  Constitution  of  the  American  Whig  Society,  1807.  MS.  in  the  Princeton  Uni- 
versity Library. 

20.  Constitution  of  the  Brothers  in  Unity,  1783.  MS.  in  the  Yale  University 

21.  Constitution  &  Laws  of  the  United  Fraternity,  May  29,  1857.  MS.  in  the 
Dartmouth  University  Library. 

22.  Constitution  of  the  Linonian  Society,  1835,  p.  11.  MS.  in  the  Yale  Univer- 
sity Library. 

23.  Secretary's  book  of  the  Dialectic  Association,  1839-43.  MS.  in  the  Oberlin 
College  Library. 

24.  Philermenian  Society  Records,  1798-1801.  MS.  in  the  Brown  University 

25.  Constitution   of  the  Philolexian   Society,    1820.   MS.   in  the   Columbiana, 
Columbia  University  Library. 

26.  Constitution  of  the  Philermenian  Society  ( 1794-1864).  MS.  in  the  Brown 
University  Library. 

27.  Constitution  of  the  American  Whig  Society,  1848.  MS.  in  the  Princeton 
University  Library. 

28.  Constitution  of  the  Cliosophic  Society  (circa  1875).  MS.  in  the  Princeton 
University  Library. 

29.  Lane,  op.  cit.,  pp.  229-230. 

30.  William  Jennings  Bryan  and  Mary  Baird  Bryan,  The  Memoirs  of  William 
Jennings  Bryan  (Philadelphia,  1925),  p.  59. 

31.  Autobiography  of  William  H.  Seward  (New  York,  1877),  p.  25. 

32.  See  Hugo  E.  Hellman,  "The  Influence  of  the  Literary  Society  m  the  Making 
of  American  Orators/'  Quarterly  Journal  of  Speech,  XXVIII  (February,   1942), 
12-14;  and  Harry  M.  Williams,  "Two  Mid-Nineteenth  Century  Student  Speeches," 
Speech  Monographs,  XVII  (March,  1950),  75-77. 

33.  Jacob  N.   Beams,   The  American  Whig  Society  of   Princeton   University 
(Princeton,  1933),  pp.  77-78. 

Intercollegiate  Debating 


Intercollegiate  debating  is  primarily  an  American  institution.  The 
"firsfbf  modern  intercollegiate  debates"  occurred,  according  to  Ralph 
Curtis  Ringwalt,  when  Yale  met  Harvard  University  at  Cambridge, 
January  14, 1892.1  "Intercollegiate  debating,"  observed  Ringwalt,  "arose 
in  a  natural  reaction  against  the  lax  conditions  of  the  literary  societies 
and  against  the  lack  of  genuine  interest  in  any  form  of  public  speaking 
which  for  many  years  existed  at  Harvard  and  Yale,  and,  in  fact,  at 
almost  all  Eastern  Colleges."  2  Ringwalt,  one  of  the  most  prominent 
early  writers  to  show  an  interest  in  college  debating,  recalls  that  around 
1890  a  group  of  young  men  who  had  had  experience  with  interschool 
debates  among  preparatory  schools  near  Boston  proposed  that  the 
Harvard  Union  challenge  other  colleges  to  joint  debates.  The  outcome 
of  this  proposal  Mr.  Ringwalt  recounts: 

For  two  years  these  men  were  voted  down  with  considetable  ridicule.  In 
[the  autumn  of]  1891,  however  . . .  Yale  sent  a  challenge  for  a  joint  discus- 
sion, and  the  opponents  of  the  scheme  in  the  Harvard  Union  having  been 
graduated  or  won  over,  the  proposal  was  at  once  accepted.  Representatives  of 
the  two  colleges  met  at  Springfield  and  arranged  for  two  debates,  the  first  to 
take  place  at  Cambridge  on  January  14,  1892. 

On  this  day,  therefore,  Harvard  and  Yale  met  on  the  platform  in  the  first 
of  modern  intercollegiate  debates.  The  question  was  "Resolved,  that  a  young 
man  casting  his  first  ballot  in  1892  should  vote  for  the  nominees  of  the 
Democratic  Party."  Yale  had  the  affirmative.  The  late  ex-Governor  William  E. 
Russell,  of  Massachusetts,  acted  as  presiding  officer.  Though,  in  accordance 
with  the  agreement,  there  were  no  judges,  and,  consequently,  no  formal  de- 
cision was  given  as  to  which  side  proved  itself  superior  in  the  contest,  the 
meeting  was  very  satisfactory;  the  audience  was  large,  representative,  and 
enthusiastic,  and  the  debating  creditable.3 

The  news  of  these  events  soon  reached  other  campuses,  and  within 
four  years  intercollegiate  debating  had  spread  across  the  entire  conti- 



nent.  The  next  year,  1893,  the  Whig  and  Cliosophic  literary  societies  of 
Princeton  University  journeyed  to  Yale  for  a  debate.  That  same  year, 
according  to  the  late  Thomas  C.  Trueblood,  the  Middle  West  caught 
the  spirit,  and  Michigan  and  Wisconsin  universities  held  their  first 
joint  debate.4  Before  the  year  was  over  Iowa  and  Minnesota  partici- 
pated in  the  first  of  a  long  and  successful  series  of  intercollegiate  de- 
bates through  the  medium  of  the  Iowa-Minnesota  Debate  League, 
organized  at  the  conclusion  of  the  first  contest.5  During  the  1894-1895 
academic  year  Pennsylvania  met  Cornell  and  Stanford  debated  with 
California.  The  following  year,  1895-1896,  Dartmouth,  Bates  College, 
Williams  College,  Wesleyan  University,  Boston  University,  Western 
Reserve,  and  the  University  of  Chicago  entered  this  new  form  of  inter- 
college  rivalry. 

The  year  J895  also  brought  an  innovation  in  the  structure  of  this  new 
intercollegiate  activity  when  Princeton,  Harvard,  and  Yale  established 
the  first  triangular  debating  league.  In  1897,  Michigan,  Minnesota, 
Northwestern,  and  Chicago  universities  formed  the  first  quadrangular 
league.  "These  universities/'  wrote  Trueblood,  "debated  each  other  in 
"pairs  in  January,  and  tlje  winners  of  the  semi-finals  contests  came  to- 
gether in  a  final  debate  in  April  each  year/* G  This  first  Midwestern, 
multilateral  debate  league,  which  served  as  a  model  for  many  others, 
was  at  the  end  of  eight  years  succeeded  by  a  triangular  arrangement 
composed  of  the  universities  of  Chicago,  Michigan,  and  Northwestern, 
the  first  of  its  kind  to  hold  all  debates  simultaneously.  According  to 
Professor  R.  I.  Fulton,  of  Ohio  Wesleyan  University,  the  Ohio  Inter- 
collegiate Debate  League  was  organized  at  Delaware  on  January  2, 
1897,  and  included  Ohio  Wesleyan,  Western  Reserve,  Oberlin,  Ohio 
State  University.  The  first  debates  were  held  in  May  of  that  year.7 

The  next  few  years  saw  the  rapid  growth  of  debating  in  both  num- 
bers of  institutions  participating  and  the  numbers  of  contests  held. 
Practically  all  the  early  debates  were  conducted  on  the  basis  of  the 
single  debate  "contract"  arrangement,  whereby  one  college  challenged 
another,  the  second  accepted,  and  a  contract  setting  forth  the  rules 
and  regulations  of  the  contest  was  drawn  up  and  signed  by  both  parties. 
Typical  of  the  intercollegiate  debating  experiences  of  colleges  and 
universities  during  this  early  period  were  those  of  the  State  University 
of  Iowa,  which,  during  her  first  decade  (1893-1903)  of  intercollegiate 
participation,  took  part  in  a  total  of  eighteen  annual  contests  with 
Minnesota,  Wisconsin,  Chicago,  and  Illinois.  All  of  Iowa's  debates  were 
annual  single  events  based  on  two-year  "contracts." 

Colleges  evolved  numerous  rules  and  regulations  governing  the 
arrangement  of  the  contests  ^Bdrthfeif  conduct.  Customarily  the  rules 
specified  the  methods  of  selecting  the  question  and  the  judges,  the 


criteria  for  judging,  number  and  length  of  speeches,  provisions  for 
financing  the  debate,  and  the  like. 

The  participants  agreed  on  a  proposition,  the  entertaining  school  or 
the  challenger  usually  submitting  a  proposal  subject  to  objection  by  the 
opposing  school.  The  constitution  of  the  first  debating  league  formed 
by  Iowa  and  Minnesota  at  Minneapolis  on  May  27,  1893,  for  example, 
provided  that  the  entertaining  university  should  submit  the  question, 
the  other  school  to  have  twelve  days  in  which  to  choose  the  side  it 
desired  or  to  submit  a  new  question.8  Although  universally  practiced, 
this  method  of  choosing  the  question  frequently  provoked  disagree- 
ment and  foul  play.  According  to  Egbert  Ray  Nichols,  much  wrangling 
and  disagreement  over  meanings  of  terms  was  the  usual  result.9  The 
subjects  debated  reflected  clearly  the  political,  economic,  and  sociologi- 
cal issues  of  the  time.  Questions  most  frequently  debated  during  the 
first  decade  of  intercollegiate  activity  dealt  with  such  subjects  as  gov- 
ernment ownership  and  operation  of  the  telegraph  system,  interna- 
tional bimetallism,  further  territorial  extension  of  the  United  States, 
municipal  ownership  and  operation  of  street  railways,  direct  election 
of  United  States  senators,  a  federal  graduated  income  tax,  and  com- 
pulsory arbitration  of  labor-management  disputes. 

The  manner  of  selecting  speakers  for  a  debate  was  left  to  each  insti- 
tution. At  first  the  literary  societies  selected  the  debaters  from  among 
their  membership.  Trueblood  observed  that  by  1907  some  institutions 
chose  their  representatives  "by  a  series  of  class  contests,  others  through 
departments,  as  at  Yale  and  Illinois,  others  through  debating  societies 
or  unions,  as  at  Harvard,  Princeton,  Cornell  and  Wisconsin,  or  through 
both  societies  and  departments,  as  at  Michigan."  10  Still  later,  with  the 
advent  of  the  debate  "coach,"  the  "tryout"  system  became  the  general 
practice,  with  competition  campus  wide.  The  league  constitutions  and 
single  debate  "contracts'*  usually  specified  that  contestants  must  be 
undergraduates  currently  attending  the  university  represented. 

Since  early  intercollege  contests  were  characterized  by  a  spirit  of 
rivalry,  the  selection  of  judges  became  a  matter  of  supreme  importance. 
As  in  the  selection  of  the  question,  tEe  lists  of  judges  proposed  by  the 
opposing  team  were  almost  always  examined  with  suspicion.  To  secure 
an  unprejudiced  "jury,"  league  constitutions  and  contractual  agree- 
ments dwelt  at  some  length  on  such  matters  as  the  manner  of  selecting 
the  judges,  their  essential  qualifications,  and  criteria  for  rendering  a 
decision.  It  early  became  the  practice  for  the  entertaining  college  to 
submit  a  list  of  names  from  which  the  visiting  college  selected  two 
judges;  the  latter  submitted  a  second  list  from  which  the  entertaining 
institution  chose  one.  Emphasis  was  placed  on  securing  judges  promi- 
nent in  their  fields.  During  the  early  years  some  judges  were  among  the 


most  prominent  citizens  of  the  country.  State  supreme  court  judges, 
congressmen,  and  university  professors  were  the  most  frequently 
chosen.  Lawyers,  ministers,  and  college  presidents  were  also  included. 
Sometimes  an  eminent  judge  or  presiding  officer  proved  to  be  a  major 
drawing  card  for  the  contest,  as,  for  example,  when  ex-President 
Grover  Cleveland  presided  at  one  of  the  early  debates  between  Yale 
and  Princeton.11 

Closely  allied  to  the  problem  of  selecting  competent  judges  was  that 
of  deciding  what  criteria  should  govern  decisions.  Nichols  reports  that 
"sometimes  a  basis  of  fifty  percent  was  suggested  for  argument  and  the 
same  for  delivery,  sometimes  it  was  sixty  for  argument  and  forty  for 
delivery,  or  even  seventy-five  and  twenty-five."  12  The  first  agreement 
between  Iowa  and  Minnesota  instructed  the  judges  to  decide  the  debate 
"solely  on  argument."  13  However,  the  constitution  later  drawn  up  by 
these  two  institutions  directed  that  judges  should  decide  "according  to 
the  stipulations  governing  the  debate."  14  Subsequent  contests  served 
to  establish  that  the  framers  of  the  Iowa-Minnesota  League  constitu- 
tion meant  that  the  judges  were  to  award  decisions  on  the  merits  of 
the  debating,  not  on  the  merits  of  the  question. 

Another  problem  frequently  arising  during  the  first  decade  of  inter- 
collegiate debating  was  that  of  determining  the  proper  order  and 
length  of  speeches.  Since  the  three-speaker  team  ( sometimes  referred  to 
as  the  University  Plan  or  Harvard  Plan)  was  universally  used  through- 
out the  early  period,  the  length  of  speeches  was  important.  During  some 
of  the  early  contests  audiences  often  sat  for  as  long  as  three  hours 
before  the  debate  could  be  concluded  and  the  judges'  decision  read. 
Like  many  of  the  other  rules  for  conducting  the  debates,  those  govern- 
ing the  length  and  order  of  speeches  were  usually  stipulated  in  consti- 
tutions and  agreements.  Usually  each  speaker  was  allowed  twenty  min- 
utes for  constructive  argument  and  the  "leader"  of  each  three-man  team 
an  additional  ten  minutes  for  summing  up  the  arguments,  with  the 
affirmative  speaking  last.  Another  variation  allotted  the  first  and  second 
speakers  on  each  side  twenty  minutes;  the  third  affirmative,  twenty-two 
minutes;  the  third  negative,  twenty-three  minutes;  and  finally,  the 
affirmative  a  four-minute  rejoinder.  Still  a  third  variation,  used  par- 
ticularly in  the  Middle  West,  allowed  affirmative  speakers  twenty, 
twenty-two  and  twenty-five  minutes,  with  a  four-minute  "rebuttal"  to 
close  the  debate.  The  three  negative  speakers  had  twenty,  twenty-two 
and  twenty-six  minutes.  By  about  the  turn  of  the  century  most  colleges 
had  adopted  the  plan  then  in  use  among  Eastern  leagues  of  permitting 
fifteen-minute  constructive  speeches  and  five-minute  rebuttals  for  each 
speaker.  Nichols  attributes  to  the  Middle  West  the  idea  of  placing  the 
negative  first  in  the  rebuttal  speeches.15  Thus  the  first  decade  of  inter- 


collegiate  debating  witnessed  the  evolution  of  the  "rebuttal"  speech  ar 
a  debating  format  used  in  formal  college  debating  for  many  years. 

Little  doubt  exists  that  intercollegiate  debating  was  accepted  wi1 
enthusiasm  by  both  the  participants  and  the  audiences.  The  annual  coi 
test  evoked  wide  public  interest  and  a  rousing  display  of  school  spiri 
The  general  public  and  the  average  university  student  viewed  the  d< 
bate  as  primarily  a  contest— an  "intellectual  sport"  characterized  t 
rules  and  regulations  and  motivated  by  the  desire  for  victory.  Georg 
Pierce  Baker  of  Harvard  perhaps  best  expressed  the  trend  of  the  day  i 
an  address  before  the  Association  of  Colleges  and  Preparatory  Schoo 
of  the  Middle  States  and  Maryland  at  Philadelphia,  December  1,  190( 

At  first  it  is,  more  than  anything  else,  the  fight,  the  spirit  of  the  contest,  tt 
desire  to  show  one's  supremacy  over  someone  else  which  interest  our  studen 
in  debating. ...  I  believe  that  intercollegiate  debating  should  be  placed  c 
the  footing  of  an  intellectual  sport.16 

The  keen  rivalry  engendered  by  an  intercollegiate  contest  made  it 
great  event  of  the  school  year.  Indeed,  preparation  for  the  annual  d( 
bate  greatly  resembled  that  made  for  a  modern  athletic  contest,  to  tt 
point  of  arousing  wide  public  interest  through  extensive  advertising  i 
newspapers,  on  billboards,  and  even  the  staging  of  "pep"  rallies  fo 
lowed  by  parades  through  the  city  streets.  Audiences  were  frequentl 
large  enough  to  necessitate  the  renting  of  a  local  theater  or  the  civi 
opera  house.  When  Iowa  debated  Wisconsin  at  Milwaukee  on  Marc 
31, 1899,  the  reviews  described  Davidson's  Theater  as  "overflowing  wit 
the  crowd,"  composed  in  part  of  large  delegations  from  nearby  schoo] 
and  colleges.17  On  the  occasion  of  the  Oberlin-Adelbert  College  (c 
Western  Reserve  University)  debate,  on  May  5,  1897  in  the  Eucli< 
Avenue  Congregational  Church  in  Cleveland,  about  one  hundred  am 
fifty  Oberlin  students  and  teachers  travelled  on  a  specially  charterer 
train  to  Cleveland  to  hear  the  debate.18 

Colleges  vied  with  one  another  to  see  who  could  make  the  occasio 
of  an  intercollegiate  debate  the  most  memorable.  Not  infrequent!) 
visiting  debate  teams  found  upon  their  arrival  at  the  railway  statio 
special  reception  committees  to  escort  them  to  the  local  hotel,  wher 
all  arrangements  for  their  stay  had  been  made  in  advance.  It  was  als 
the  custom,  in  addition  to  the  regular  banquet  immediately  followin 
the  debate,  for  the  president  of  the  college  or  university  to  entertai 
both  teams  in  his  home.  For  the  audiences,  added  attractions,  such  a 
musical  selections,  frequently  spiced  the  lengthy  verbal  battles.  Th 
Oberlin-Adelbert  debate  of  1897  was  described  by  Auer  as  follows 
"While  the  Mather  Glee  Club  and  the  Adalbert  Mandolin  Club  offere- 


tive  side  of  the  question  'Resolved,  That  Trusts  or  Combinations  which 
tend  to  monopolize  any  industry  should  be  prohibited  by  law.' "  19 

To  the  literary  societies  must  go  the  major  credit  for  nurturing  and 
loyally  supporting  active  intercollegiate  debate  programs.  Through  the 
voluntary  action  of  the  societies  intercollegiate  debating  got  its  start. 
They  planned  and  financed  the  early  events.  Through  systematic  pro- 
grams of  training  begun  with  the  Freshman  society  member,  the  socie- 
ties prepared  their  speakers  for  intercollegiate  competition.  In  addition 
to  providing  varied  opportunities  for  training  in  extemporaneous  debat- 
ing, the  student  organizations  not  infrequently  hired  at  considerable 
expense  private  instructors  in  elocution  to  assist  their  teams  with  deliv- 
ery. Even  special  research  teams  were  sometimes  appointed  to  assist 
the  debaters  in  preparing  their  cases. 

Although  the  literary  societies  shouldered  most  of  the  responsibili- 
ties for  the  preparation  of  debating  teams,  more  and  more  the  debaters 
themselves  sought  help  among  the  faculty  wherever  and  whenever  they 
could  get  it.  Thus  the  professor  of  English,  history,  or  economics  volun- 
tarily assumed  a  new  responsibility.  Although  trained  faculty  supervi- 
sion of  the  debating  program  was  not  the  rule  until  well  into  the  second 
decade  of  intercollegiate  competition,  the  "coaching  system"  began  to 
appear  by  the  close  of  the  first  decade.  A  few  institutions,  notably  the 
universities  of  Michigan,  Illinois,  and  Iowa,  had  by  the  turn  of  the  cen- 
tury organized  "departments"  of  speech,  but  the  departments  had  little 
or  nothing  to  do  with  intercollegiate  debating,  which  existed  purely  as 
an  extracurricular  activity.  Not  until  well  into  the  second  decade  of 
intercollegiate  debating  did  speech  departments  begin  to  assume  re- 
sponsibility for  or  jurisdiction  over  this  popular  "intellectual  sport/' 


In  the  period  1904-1913,  intercollegiate  .debating  continued  to  ex- 
pand rapidly  and  at  the  same  time  sought  to  improve  itself. 

Debating  leagues  increased  in  number  and  variety.  With  the  Ghicago- 
Michigan-Northwestern  triangular  experiment  as  a  pattern,  many  new 
leagues  sprang  up  across  the  country.  Typical  was  the  "I-M-I  League," 
composed  of  the  universities  of  Iowa,  Minnesota,  and  Illinois. 

Quadrangular  leagues  were  also  to  be  found  during  this  second 
decade,  that  of  Swarthmore,  Franklin  and  Marshall,  Dickinson,  and 
Pennsylvania  State  College  being  among  the  best  known.  When  the 
Chicago-Michigan-Minnesota-Northwestern  league  broke  up  in  1906, 
Minnesota  joined  the  universities  of  Iowa,  Illinois,  Wisconsin  and  Ne- 
braska to  form  the  Central  Debating  League  of  America,  popularly  re- 
ferred to  as  the  "Five-Cornered/'  "Quintangular,"  and  "Pentangular" 


league.  This  new  plan  amounted  to  a  double  triangular  arrangement, 
in  which,  if  the  affirmative  and  negative  teams  each  debated  twice,  each 
member  institution  could  meet  the  others  annually.  This  fact  was  prob- 
ably responsible  for  the  immediate  popularity  of  the  five-member 
leagues  organized  across  the  country.  Typical  of  these  pentangular 
arrangements  was  the  league  composed  of  the  universities  of  Arkansas, 
Mississippi,  Tennessee,  Louisiana,  and  Texas.  The  universities  of 
Georgia,  Virginia,  and  North  Carolina  joined  with  Tulane  and  Vander- 
bilt  in  a  similar  organization. 

Also  from  the  basic  triangular  plan  emerged  yet  another  type  of  de- 
bating arrangement.  The  triangular  league  required  each  member  insti- 
tution to  prepare  teams  on  both  sides  of  the  question— a  significant 
departure  from  the  old  single-debate  contract  plan.  Hence,  when  one 
member  of  the  league  defaulted,  the  two  remaining  members,  rather 
than  be  deprived  of  debating  opportunities  for  one  of  their  teams, 
simply  matched  these  teams  against  one  another  on  the  same  evening 
as  in  the  triangular  arrangement.  This  "dual  plan"  survived  all  other, 
more  complex  procedures. 

Although  the  single-debate  contract  plan  continued  in  use  through 
the  second  decade  of  intercollegiate  debating,  the  various  league  ar- 
rangements rapidly  became  popular,  possibly  because  they  effectively 
solved  such  problems  as  the  choice  of  a  question  and  of  sides,  the  time 
and  place  of  contests,  and  similar  difficulties  that  had  long  been  the 
source  of  dispute  and  friction  under  the  single-debate  contract  pro- 
cedure. Nichols  also  alleges  that  those  responsible  for  debating  activi- 
ties saw  a  boon  to  debate  preparation  in  the  league  requirement  that 
each  institution  make  ready  teams  on  both  sides  of  the  question.20 

The  road  of  rapidly  expanding  intercollegiate  debate  activity  was 
not  altogether  smooth.  One  of  the  many  difficulties  was  that  of  finance. 
During  the  first  decade,  when  intercollegiate  activity  was  limited  in 
most  universities  and  colleges  to  one  or  two  engagements  per  year,  the 
literary  societies  managed  to  meet  expenses  from  their  regular  treas- 
uries, supplemented  frequently  by  small  admission  charges  to  the  de- 
bates. Increased  activity,  however,  required  additional  funds.  Since 
debate  was  definitely  outside  the  regular  curriculum,  appeals  to  ad- 
ministrative authorities  for  assistance  were  usually  without  success.  In 
search  of  supplementary  sources  of  revenue,  literary  societies  spon- 
sored university  lecture  series,  plays,  and  musical  concerts.  For  many 
groujps,  debating  was  financed  through  the  student  activity  fee,  devised 
early  in  the  century,  which  the  student,  upon  matriculating,  paid  in  a 
lump  sum  for  his  admission  to  athletic  events,  plays,  and  debates,  and 
for  his  subscription  to  the  college  paper.  If  only  partial  and  sometimes 
transitory,  these  "solutions"  to  financial  problems  opened  the  way  for 


even  larger  debate  schedules  and  also  made  possible  later  the  "guar- 
antee" to  the  visiting  team  with  the  advent  of  the  debate  trip. 

Perhaps  the  chief  characteristic  of  the  second  decade  was  a  con- 
certed effort  to  improve  the  quality  of  intercollegiate  debating.  In  large 
measure,  improvement  manifested  itself  in  four  areas:  (1)  the  struggle 
for  academic  recognition,  (2)  development  of  improved  methods  of 
debate  preparation  and  delivery,  (3)  the  devising  of  means  for  re- 
warding proficiency  in  the  art  of  debating,  and  (4)  the  administration 
of  the  intercollegiate  forensic  program. 

By  the  second  decade,  student  debate  leaders  were  successful  in 
their  efforts  to  persuade  a  member  of  the  faculty  to  assume  the  extra 
duty  of  "coaching"  intercollegiate  teams  in  the  final  stages  of  their  prep- 
aration for  debate  contests.21  The  next  stage  of  the  evolutionary  process 
found  the  "coach"  assisting  in  the  selection  of  the  debaters  by  the 
"tryout"  system.  Soon  there  appeared  on  every  campus  that  relatively 
small  group  of  ardent  debaters  referred  to  as  the  "debate  squad."  With 
the  rapid  increase  in  the  number  of  annual  intercollegiate  contests  came 
what  seemed  the  inevitable  student  demand  for  academic  credit.  As  a 
result,  many  "coaches"  organized  courses  in  argumentation  and  debate; 
the  intercollegiate  participant  enrolled  and  thus  received  credit.  A  few 
institutions  allowed  credit  specifically  for  intercollegiate  participation 
by  a  vote  of  the  faculty  upon  recommendation  of  the  "coach."  Thus, 
although  intercollegiate  debating  continued  to  be  thought  of  as  an  "out- 
side" activity,  in  the  second  decade  it  gained  curriculum  status. 

In  keeping  with  academic  associations,  the  best  debates  received 
publication  and  were  thus  available  for  study  and  criticism.  In  1908 
Harvard  and  the  University  of  Chicago  published  full-length  debates 
in  pamphlet  form.  That  same  year  the  H.  W.  Wilson  Company  of  Min- 
neapolis started  the  Debate  Handbook  Series,  followed  a  few  years 
later  by  the  University  Debater's  Annual  and  the  Reference  Shelf  series. 
In  1909  Professor  Paul  M.  Pearson,  editor  of  The  Speaker,  compiled  and 
edited  the  first  volume  of  Intercollegiate  Debates,  consisting  of  a  con- 
densation of  the  arguments  of  twenty-three  college  debates  and  of  one 
debate  carried  in  full.  In  1911,  Brooldngs  and  Ringwalf  s  Briefs  for  De- 
bate appeared. 

Ffhe  advent  of  the  faculty  director  or  "coach"  brought  decided  im- 
provement in  methods  of  preparation  and  delivery.  Many  of  the  earliest 
intercollegiate  contests  had  little  of  the  extemporaneous  adaptation  char- 
acteristic of  debate  in  later  years.  The  general  practice  was  for  each 
speaker  to  write  his  speech  in  full,  commit  it  to  memory,  and,  at  the 
proper  time,  recite  it  much  as  he  would  an  oration.  Not  infrequently 
the  cases  of  opposing  teams  failed  to  "clash^pnd  the  result  was,  accord- 
ing to  Nichols,  "an  exhibition  of  adroit  maneuvering,  clever  interpreta- 


tion,  and  carefully  planned  strategy  to  avoid  pitfalls  and  to  force  the 
opposition  to  defend  its  weaknesses  and  to  meet  the  strong  point  of  its 
antagonists."  22  Even  the  rebuttal  speeches  were  "canned."  To  correct 
these  defects,  the  coaches  instituted  what  came  to  be  popularly  known 
as  the  "block  system"  of  speech  preparation.  With  this  method,  all  de- 
baters, except  the  first  affirmative  speakers,  were  directed  to  prepare 
paragraphs  or  "blocks"  of  arguments  on  all  the  conceivably  important 
issues  that  might  arise  during  a  debate.  By  committing  these  "blocks" 
to  memory,  the  debater  could,  during  the  course  of  the  debate,  select 
and  assemble  such  "blocks"  as  would  result  in  a  direct  challenge  to  the 
opponents'  case.  Blocked  rebuttal  answers  were  likewise  prepared  in 
advance.  Before  long,  however,  the  tediousness  of  the  block  method  led 
both  coaches  and  students  to  move  further  in  the  direction  of  extempo- 
raneous debating.  Progress  was  manifest  during  the  second  decade, 
when  debaters  began  allotting  time  for  preliminary  extempore  refuta- 
tion at  the  beginning  of  constructive  speeches.  Some  coaches  directed 
the  first  two  speakers  on  each  side  to  present  the  prepared  constructive 
case,  leaving  the  third  speaker  free  to  extemporize  and  thus  try  to 
insure  a  direct  clash  of  arguments. 

Another  factor  leading  to  the  improvement  of  debating  was  the  inter- 
est shown  by  colleges,  and  especially  by  university  extension  divisions, 
in  high-school  debating  and  debaters.  Seeing  the  high  schools  as  an 
excellent  source  of  college  debaters,  many  colleges  and  universities  en- 
couraged the  formation  of  high-school  debate  leagues.  The  leagues  were 
later  amalgamated  into  state-wide  organizations.  Local,  district,  and 
finally  state  debate  championships  were  determined  under  the  auspices 
of  the  sponsoring  university.  Thus,  during  the  second  decade  of  inter- 
collegiate debating,  students  who  had  received  debate  training  in  high 
school  began  to  enter  the  ranks  of  the  college  debate  squads. 

As  a  further  inducement  to  better  debating,  many  institutions  early 
adopted  the  practice  of  awarding  cash  prizes,  cups,  and  plaques  for 
individual  achievement.  Some  colleges  instituted  "presentation  day"  at 
the  end  of  the  debating  season.  On  this  occasion,  debaters  received 
medals  and  a  college  letter  to  be  worn  on  the  coat  or  sweater. 

Another  form  of  recognition  for  excellence  in  intercollegiate  f orensics 
which  had  its  roots  in  this  early  period  was  the  forensic  honor  society. 
Desiring  to  give  appropriate  recognition  for  work  of  merit  in  inter- 
collegiate debating,  Professors  E.  E.  McDermott,  of  the  University  of 
Wisconsin,  and  H.  E.  Gordon,  of  the  State  University  of  Iowa,  proposed 
in  November,  1904,  a  national  forensic  honor  society  patterned  in  the 
Phi  Beta  Kappa  tradition.  In  April,  1906,  representatives  from  the  uni- 
versities of  Michigan,  Minnesota,  Illinois,  Nebraska,  Iowa,  Wisconsin, 
Chicago,  and  Northwestern  met  at  the  Victoria  Hotel  in  Chicago  and 


organized  Delta  Sigma  Rho,  the  first  honor  society  of  its  kind  in  the 
United  States.  Provisions  were  made  to  establish  chapters  in  each  of 
the  member  schools  with  charter  membership  limited  to  those  institu- 
tions represented  at  the  founders'  meeting.  By  the  close  of  the  decade, 
Delta  Sigma  Rho  could  boast  twenty-five  chapters  limited  mainly  to  the 
large  universities.23  In  1908  a  second  national  forensic  honor  society, 
Tau  Kappa  Alpha,  was  organized  at  Butler  College,  Indianapolis,  by 
representatives  of  Butler,  Wabash,  and  Depauw.  Organized  at  first  on 
the  basis  of  state  chapters  to  which  forensic  honor  students  of  the  vari- 
ous colleges  within  each  state  might  belong,  Tau  Kappa  Alpha  later 
reorganized  to  permit  a  local  chapter  in  each  college.  By  the  end  of  the 
decade  the  third  honor  society,  Pi  Kappa  Delta,  was  founded.  Accord- 
ing to  Professor  Nichols,  one  of  its  founders,  it  met  the  demand  of  the 
small  colleges  for  an  honor  award  and  organization.24  Election  to  mem- 
bership in  one  of  these  forensic  honor  societies,  which  carried  with  it 
the  privilege  of  wearing  the  society  key,  became  the  highest  honor  that 
could  be  conferred  upon  an  intercollegiate  debater. 

Although  the  early  intercollegiate  debates  were  held  under  the  names 
of  institutions,  they  were  not  in  reality  contests  between  universities  or 
colleges.  Actually  they  were  conceived,  planned,  and  carried  out  by 
and  among  the  various  literary  societies  on  the  campuses.  However,  as 
the  responsibilities  for  administering  an  ever-expanding  intercollegiate 
program  reached  proportions  too  great  for  the  societies  independently 
or  collectively  to  handle,  administration  was  gradually  shifted  to  a  cen- 
tral agency  representative  of  the  institution  as  a  whole.  Hence,  the  sec- 
ond decade  witnessed  the  rise  of  the  university  or  college  Forensic 
Association  or  Debate  Council,  which,  in  conjunction  with  the  "coach," 
assumed  the  responsibilities  of  administering  all  intercollegiate  debate 
activities.  Intercollegiate  debating  was  then  no  longer  restricted  to 
literary  society  members;  any  undergraduate  in  good  standing  was 
eligible  to  participate  as  a  representative  of  the  university  or  college. 
The  "tryout"  system  further  broadened  the  field  of  selection,  thus  sharp- 
ening the  competition  for  a  place  on  the  Varsity"  team  and  improving 
the  general  quality  of  debating, 


The  Jthird  decadet  of  intercollegiate  debating  in  the  United  States 
(1914-1923)  was  a  period  at  fur  ther  growth,  and  expansion  character- 
izecpby  e^emaentati.on  with  new  forms  and  methods^.  Although  tem- 
porarily retarded  by  *We*H  War  1,  the  general  tr6fiS  in  intercollegiate 
debating  pointed  toward  increased  activity,  culminating  in  a  program 


whose  magnitude  and  substance  reflected  the  far-reaching  effects  of 
forensic  endeavor  on  both  the  national  and  international  scene. 

Influenced  perhaps  in  part  by  a  desire  to  meet  debate  teams  from 
more  distant  places  and  by  the  urge  to  use  a  laboriously  prepared  de- 
bate case  in  more  than  one  or  two  debates,  coaches  and  debaters  were 
not  content  with  the  two  or  three  annual  contests  provided  by  league 
arrangements.  The  interstate  character  of  some  of  the  triangular  and 
other  multilateral  leagues  had  already  introduced  the  idea  of  a  "debate 
trip."  The  University  of  Denver  was  the  first  institution  to  schedule 
more  than  one  debate  on  a  trip  into  neighboring  states.  In  1913  a 
Denver  team  journeyed  to  Kansas  and  debated  Ottawa  University  on 
April  16,  and  to  Missouri  for  an  engagement  with  William  Jewell  Col- 
lege on  April  18. 25  Almost  immediately  other  colleges  and  universities 
began  sending  teams  on  cross  country  tours  until  by  1916  the  debate 
trip  had  become  a  popular  feature. 

World  War  I  drastically  curtailed  intercollegiate  debating.  Men's 
literary  societies  suspended  activities,  and  in  the  1917-1918  academic 
year,  college  debating,  along  with  most  extracurricular  pursuits,  vir- 
tually ceased. 

Postwar  intercollegiate  debating  assumed  a  new  dimension  when,  in 
1921,  debaters  of  Bates  College,  Lewiston,  Maine,  gained  national  at- 
tention by  conceiving  and  carrying  out  the  first  international  debate,  a 
trip  to  Oxford  University,  England.26  The  debate  took  place  before  the 
Oxford  Union  on  June  16,  1921,  with  the  Bates  College  team  uphold- 
ing the  aflBrmative  of  the  proposition,  "Resolved,  that  this  House  ap- 
proves the  American  policy  of  non-intervention  in  European  affairs."  27 
The  following  year,  1922,  Oxford  reciprocated  by  sending  a  team  to  the 
United  States  for  a  return  engagement  with  Bates  College  and  for  addi- 
tional debates  with  Swarthmore,  Columbia,  Yale,  Harvard,  Princeton, 
and  the  University  of  Pennsylvania. 

The  third  decade  of  intercollegiate  debating  witnessed  expansion  in 
another  direction  when  women  were  admitted  to  the  platform.  In  Jan- 
uary, 1897,  the  University  of  Wisconsin,  in  reply  to  a  challenge  from 
the  University  of  Iowa,  had  refused  to  permit  her  young  ladies  to  par- 
ticipate in  an  intercollegiate  debate,  giving  as  her  reason  that ". . .  ladies 
in  that  capacity  do  no  credit  either  to  themselves  or  to  co-education  in 
general."  28  Throughout  the  early  years  of  intercollegiate  forensic  com- 
petition the  appearance  of  women  upon  the  public  platform  continued 
to  be  viewed  with  disfavor. 

Women's  societies  began  in  earnest  to  promote  debating  activities  at 
about  the  beginning  of  the  third  decade  of  intercollegiate  forensics. 
Not  until  the  postwar  period,  however,  did  appreciable  numbers  of 


women  debaters  actually  appear  on  the  intercollegiate  platform.  On 
May  12,  1921,  purportedly  the  first  women's  intercollegiate  debate  in 
the  Middle  West  occurred  when  a  women's  team  from  the  University  of 
Indiana  visited  the  campus  of  the  State  University  of  Iowa  to  debate 
the  issue  of  Philippine  independence.29  By  1923  college  women,  par- 
ticularly in  the  Midwest,  were  debating  along  with  men. 

College  debating  was  not  without  its  critics.  As  early  as  1913  debate 
and  debating  practices  as  they  had  developed  in  the  colleges  and  uni- 
versities over  the  previous  twenty  years  became  the  object  of  wide- 
spread criticism  from  the  public  at  large  and  from  academic  circles  as 
well.  Public  criticism,  led  by  persons  no  less  prominent  than  Theodore 
Roosevelt  and  William  Jennings  Bryan,  questioned  the  moral  sound- 
ness of  coaching  methods,  then  prevalent,  of  requiring  college  debaters 
to  argue  on  both  sides  of  a  question  without  regard  for  their  personal 
convictions.30  Although  the  friends  and  defenders  of  college  debating 
managed  to  withstand  public  censure,  academic  criticism  led  to 
changes.  Educators  centered  on  what  many  of  them  thought  to  be  an 
unhealthy  stress  upon  winning  the  judges'  decisions.  Widespread  dis- 
satisfaction was  expressed  also  over  the  choice  of  judges  and  judging 

The  first  noticeable  reaction  in  debating  circles  to  criticism  of  judged 
debates  was  the  complete  abolition  of  the  decision.  According  to  H.  S. 
Woodward,  the  first  non-decision  debates  were  held  in  Ohio  in  1914- 
1915. 31  Later  a  further  innovation  was  added  to  the  "judgeless"  debate 
when  members  of  the  audience  were  invited  to  express  opinions  on  the 
issue  under  discussion  at  the  close  of  the  formal  debate.  Thus  was  born 
the  "open  forum  discussion." 

Directors  of  debating  argued  heatedly  on  the  issue  of  decision  versus 
non-decision  debates.  According  to  Enid  Miller,  this  argument  and  the 
dispute  over  methods  of  judging  occupied  more  space  than  any  other 
questions  in  the  literature  of  speech  education  immediately  following 
World  War  L32  Early  issues  of  the  Quarterly  Journal  of  Public  Speak- 
ing carried  numerous  articles,  most  notable  of  which  was  a  series  of 
written  debates  between  Professor  H.  N.  Wells  of  the  University  of 
Southern  California  Law  School  and  Professor  James  M.  O'Neill  of  the 
University  of  Wisconsin  Department  of  Speech.33 

By  the  spring  of  1920  the  popularity  of  open  forum,  non-decision  de- 
bating had  spread  through  the  Middle  West.  Many  of  the  debate 
leagues  adopted  this  system,  among  them  the  1-M-I  League,"  all  of 
whose  debates  during  the  1920-1921  season  were  of  the  "judgeless," 
audience-participation  type.  Renewed  debate  contracts  often  specified 
the  use  of  the  non-decision  method.  Although  this  new  emphasis  on 
decisionless  debating  continued  to  be  popular  through  the  remainder 


of  the  third  decade,  the  issue  of  decision  versus  non-decision  debates 
was  by  no  means  resolved,  as  later  developments  reveal.34 

Although  the  open  forum  debate  proved  to  be  popular  with  au- 
diences, many  debaters  and  debate  directors  believed  that  the  judges' 
decision  was  essential  to  effective  debating.  To  them  the  logical  alterna- 
tive to  the  old  three-judge  panel  with  its  admitted  evils  was  the  expert 
critic  judge.  First  used  in  the  high-school  debating  leagues  of  Kansas 
and  Iowa  in  1915-1916,  the  critic  judge  quickly  found  favor.  He  was 
an  "expert"  in  debate  technique  and  methodology;  at  the  close  of  de- 
bate he  announced  which  team  had  done  the  more  effective  debating 
and  went  on  to  explain  in  a  short  critique  the  reasons  for  his  decision. 
The  critic  judge  was  usually  a  director  of  debate  or  teacher  of  public 
speaking  from  a  neutral  or  disinterested  institution.35 

As  the  pendulum  had  swung  in  the  two  years  following  World  War  I 
from  decision  to  non-decision  debating,  by  the  1922-1923  debating 
season  it  had  swung  back  again  in  the  direction  of  contest  debating 
wittj-Jthe  expert  critic  judge  as  referee.  Thus,  after  nearly  three  decades 
marke3"*witri  controversies  as  to  the  eligibility,  even  the  integrity,  of 
judges,  and  with  the  virtual  elimination  of  judges'  decisions,  most  of 
the  advocates  of  intercollegiate  debating,  in  the  Middle  West  at  any 
rate,  finally  settled  upon  the  critic  judge  as  the  best  solution  to  their 
problems.  Despite  the  competitive  motive,  which  emerged  repeatedly 
in  the  intercollegiate  debate  program,  the  critic  judge  worked  well  and 
won  the  confidence  of  coaches  and  debaters  for  fair  and  equitable  deci- 
sions. Furthermore,  from  his  explanation  and  criticism,  everyone  could 
profit.  He  fitted  into  a  system  that  was  more  interested  in  education 
than  in  sport. 

In  the  last  years  of  the  third  decade,  American  debaters  were 
influe1ice3r""t)y  the*  English  style  of  debating.  Characterized  by  its 
conversaffdnal  mode,  wittiness,  and  its  stress  upon  audience  persua- 
sion, the"Oxford,  or  British,  style  of  debating  had  a  significant  and  pro- 
found" effect  jja  tempering  the  legalistic  formalism  of  American  debat- 
ing^-6-Also  the  Oxford  "split  team"  system— each  team  of  two  members 
made  up  of  one  debater  from  each  of  the  participating  institutions— 
probably  helped  to  minimize  the  "sport"  aspect  of  American  debating 
sometimes  evident  in  a  "support  the  home  team"  attitude  among  audi- 
ences. The  British  debaters,  stressing  the  importance  of  audience  per- 
suasion and  unfamiliar  with  the  American  custom  of  awarding  a  deci- 
sion on  the  merits  of  the  debating,  usually  requested  that  audiences  be 
permitted  to  vote  on  the  merits  of  the  question  instead.  Hence,  the  close 
of  the  third  decade  of  intercollegiate  debating  saw  the  appearance  of 
the  "audience  decision"  debate.  In  some  instances,  audiences  were 
asked  to  vote  on  the  question  both  before  and  after  the  formal  debate 


with  a  "shift-of -opinion"  ballot  replacing  the  judge's  formal  decision. 
Thus,  by  the  end  of  the  third  decade  intercollegiate  debating  had 
taken  on  a  new  character  and  vitality.  The  dormant  position  into  which 
debating  had  slumped  during  World  War  I  gave  place  to  renewed 
interest,  both  on  the  part  of  debaters  and  the  general  public.  Audience 
participation,  while  not  generally  thought  to  be  a  prime  motive  for 
increased  student  interest,  nevertheless  materially  transformed  tradi- 
tional debating  from  an  intellectual  sport  characterized  by  a  legalistic 
formalism  designed  to  win  victories  over  opponents,  to  a  more  realistic 
means  of  presenting  live  issues  to  interested  listeners  and  of  helping 
college  youth  to  speak  well. 


By  1923  college  debating  had  seen  most  of  its  major  developments. 
In  conclusion  we  need  only  to  observe  now  that  the  forces  which  estab- 
lished intercollegiate  debate  have  been  vigorous  enough  to  keep  it  in 
good  health.  International  debating  continued  to  expand.  New  adapta- 
tions were  introduced— cross-examination,  direct-clash,  and  heckling 
debates— and  radio  enabled  the  debater  to  reach  larger  audiences*  »The 
most  important  new  direction  was  the  debate  tournament,  which  al- 
loWecI  debaters  to  meet  several  colleges  at  one  location  with  minimum 
expense.  "Colleges  experimented  also  with  legislative  assemblies  as  a 
realistic  setting  for  the  student  speaker.  Although  audiences  have 
dwindled  since  the  early  years,  debate  has  adjusted  its  methods  to 
appeal  to  young  men  and  women  who  are  interested  in  broad  and 
rigorous  educational  experience,  who  find  pleasure  in  intellectual  com- 
petition with  their  peers,  and  who  wish  to  develop  some  facility  in  the 
adaptation  of  facts  and  arguments  on  public  questions  to  the  occasion 
and  audience. 

The  immediate  success  and  popularity  enjoyed  by  the  first  debates 
with  British  teams  soon  led  to  the  sponsorship  of  international  debating 
by  the  Institute  of  International  Education,  which  assumed  the  respon- 
sibility for  arranging  tours  both  in  the  United  States  and  abroad.  Teams 
from  Oxford,  Cambridge,  and  many  municipal  universities  alternated 
in  making  annual  pilgrimages  to  the  United  States.  Beginning  in  the 
1920's,  debate  teams  from  Australia,  Ireland,  Turkey,  Germany,  and 
the  Philippine  Islands  appeared  on  American  platforms.  Not  to  be  out- 
done by  their  foreign  competitors,  American  debaters  traveled  abroad 
in  ever  increasing  numbers.  In  1927,  the  University  of  Oregon  sent  a 
team  on  a  tour  westward  around  the  world,  visiting  Hawaii,  Australia, 
India,  and  England  en  route.  The  following  spring  the  Bates  College 
debaters  traveled  westward  across  the  continent  and  on  around  the 


world.  The  next  year  a  State  University  of  Iowa  team  made  a  two 
weeks7  tour  of  eighteen  British  colleges  and  universities.  Except  for  a 
temporary  interruption  by  World  War  II,  international  debating  con- 
tinued to  flourish  under  the  administrative  responsibility  of  the  Inter- 
national Institute  of  Education,  with  the  Committee  on  International 
Debate  of  the  Speech  Association  of  America  acting  as  a  liaison  agency 
for  the  selection  of  debaters  on  a  nation-wide  basis  to  represent  Ameri- 
can colleges  and  universities  abroad.  Although  considerable  contro- 
versy developed  concerning  the  educational  justification  of  these  ex- 
change debates,  few  would  argue  that  international  debating  failed 
to  live  up  to  the  function  envisioned  by  its  sponsors,  namely,  that  of 
fostering  international  good  will  and  understanding.37 

With  the  widespread  use  of  the  radio  came  further  opportunity  for 
the  expansion  and  development  of  college  debating.  At  first,  those  insti- 
tutions fortunate  enough  to  be  near  commercial  broadcasting  stations 
experimented  with  educational  programs,  among  which  were  frequent 
college  debates.  Within  a  few  years  many  of  the  larger  institutions  had 
their  own  broadcasting  stations  through  which  numerous  intercollegiate 
debates  were  "aired."  Perhaps  the  outstanding  radio  debate  of  the 
early  period  occurred  when  Iowa,  the  Western  Conference  League 
"champion"  of  1932-1933,  met  Bates  College,  Eastern  Intercollegiate 
League  winners,  on  October  28,  1933.  The  debate  was  broadcast  over 
the  WJZ  chain  of  the  National  Broadcasting  Company,  with  the  Iowa 
debaters  speaking  from  a  Chicago  studio  and  the  Bates  team  from  a 
Boston  station.  With  the  rapid  growth  in  the  number  of  educational 
broadcasting  units  on  college  and  university  campuses,  more  and  more 
debates  were  arranged  for  broadcasting.  The  influence  exerted  by  this 
important  medium  upon  the  general  quality  and  nature  of  debating 
would  be  difficult  to  assess.  The  presence  of  an  unseen  audience  repre- 
senting a  cross  section  of  the  population  necessitated  more  concen- 
trated training  in  adapting  to  listeners'  needs  and  interests  as  well  as 
in  improved  techniques  of  delivery. 

Mounting  dissatisfaction  among  debate  directors  with  the  traditional 
form  of  college  debating  led  to  further  experimentation  with  new  forms 
and  methods.  Non-decision  and  open  forum  debating  accompanied  by 
the  use  of  the  "shift-of-opinion"  ballot  became  increasingly  popular. 
The  "split-team"  procedure  to  direct  attention  to  the  issues  rather  than 
to  the  speakers  was  also  widely  employed.  Among  the  most  frequently 
used  of  the  new  forms  was  the  "Oregon  Plan/'  which  featured  cross- 
examination  of  each  speaker  by  a  member  of  the  opposing  team  at  the 
close  of  each  constructive  speech.38  Still  another  innovation  was  the 
"direct  clash"  method,  which  called  for  the  thorough  threshing  out  of 
each  major  issue  in  the  debate  by  both  sides  before  proceeding  to  the 


next.  Quite  popular  for  a  time  was  the  "heckling"  debate,  which,  as  its 
title  implies,  was  designed  to  discourage  memorized  speeches  by  per- 
mitting a  debater  to  be  interrupted  for  questioning  by  an  opponent.  All 
of  these  innovations  were  designed  to  encourage  an  extemporaneous 
style  of  debating. 

Probably  the  most  significant  of  the  later  developments  in  intercol- 
legiate debating  was  the  inauguration  of  the  debate  tournament,  which 
allegedly  originated  in  1923  at  Southwestern  College,  Winfield,  Kan- 
sas.39 This  new  method  of  conducting  intercollegiate  debates  called  for 
the  converging  of  several  debate  teams  upon  one  college  or  university 
campus  for  a  period  of  one  or  more  days.  It  achieved  almost  immediate 
popularity.  The  earliest  tournaments  were  of  the  "invitational"  type,  in 
which  a  particular  college,  upon  deciding  to  sponsor  such  an  event, 
invited  a  number  of  other  schools  to  send  participants  and  usually 
judges  as  well.  The  first  national  tournament,  according  to  Nichols,  was 
sponsored  by  Pi  Kappa  Delta  at  its  national  convention  in  Estes  Park, 
Colorado,  in  1926.40  Soon  the  tournament  idea  spread  over  the  West 
and  Middle  West  and  then  over  the  nation. 

Besides  greatly  enhancing  opportunities  for  increased  numbers  of 
intercollegiate  debates  at  minimum  expense,  the  tournament  brought 
significant  changes  in  debating  methods  and  techniques— changes  that 
largely  determined  the  character  and  scope  of  college  debating.  In 
order  to  hold  several  "rounds"  of  debate  in  one  or  two  days,  the  length 
of  speeches  was  reduced  to  ten  minutes  for  constructive  and  five  min- 
utes for  rebuttal  speeches.  Although  early  tournaments  made  use  of  the 
traditional  three-speaker  team,  tournament  efficiency  was  in  large 
measure  responsible  for  the  advent  of  the  two-speaker  system.  With  the 
national  tournament  came  the  necessity  for  selecting  a  national  debate 
question.  Finally,  the  tournament  brought  a  renewed  emphasis  on 
contest  debating,  even  though  many  non-decision  or  "practice"  tourna- 
ments were  held.  Tournament  debating  also  meant  speaking  almost 
entirely  without  popular  audiences,  indeed,  the  real  audience  was  often 
the  critic  judge. 

Yet  another  highly  significant  trend  in  modern  debating  practice  was 
the  emergence  of  parliamentary  debating  carried  out  as  a  student  legis- 
lative assembly.41  In  invitational  forensic  conferences  across  the  land 
students  proposed  resolutions  and  "bills,"  discussed  them  in  committee 
and  conferences,  and  emerged  from  the  final  stages  of  a  "discussion  pro- 
gression" with  a  series  of  resolutions  introduced  in  the  form  of  bills  and 
debated  by  the  entire  assembly  sitting  as  a  legislature.  Sponsors  of  these 
legislative  sessions  held  that  in  addition  to  providing  excellent  oppor- 
tunities for  training  in  extemporaneous,  problem-solving  debating,  they 
served  also  to  increase  student  interest  in  social-political  problems,  to 


equip  them  further  for  the  responsibilities  of  leadership  in  civic  affairs, 
and  to  show  relationships  between  discussion  and  advocacy  in  the 
deliberative  process. 

Although  the  competitive  elements  continued  to  evoke  enthusiasm 
among  superior  debaters,  the  tendency  of  colleges  and  universities  was 
to  relate  forensics  more  and  more  closely  to  general  educational  aims 
and  classroom  instruction.  The  educational  values  of  the  forensic  pro- 
gram for  the  functions  and  purposes  of  a  democratic  society  were  rec- 
ognized as  playing  an  indispensable  role  in  the  struggle  for  survival.  If 
free  speech,  basic  to  the  American  system,  is  to  serve  democracy 
properly,  discussion  and  debate  will  continue  as  essential  educational 


1.  Ralph  Curtis  Ringwalt,  "Intercollegiate  Debating,"  Forum,  XXII  (January, 
1897),  633. 

According  to  Ewbank  and  Auer,  "the  first  intercollegiate  debate  seems  to  have 
taken  place  in  1883  between  Knox  College  and  the  Rockford  Female  Seminary  on 
the  'Social  benefits  and  evils  of  the  lavish  expenditure  of  wealth  by  the  rich/  "— 
Henry  Lee  Ewbank  and  J.  Jeffery  Auer,  Discussion  and  Debate:  Tools  of  a  Democ- 
racy (New  York,  1951),  p.  383. 

2.  Ringwalt,  op.  cit.,  p.  633. 

3.  Ibid. 

4.  "Forensic  Training  in  Colleges,"  Education,  XXVII  (March,  1907),  387. 

5.  Vidette-Reporter  (Iowa  City),  June  3,  1893. 

6.  Trueblood,  op.  cit.,  p.  387. 

7.  Roy  Diem,  "History  of  Intercollegiate  Debating  in  Ohio,"  Central  States 
Speech  Journal,  XX  (November,  1949),  633. 

8.  Vidette-Reporter  (Iowa  City),  November  16,  1893. 

9.  "The  college  submitting  the  question  often  cast  it  in  trick  form,  hoping  the 
challenged  debaters  would  choose  before  discovering  any  jokers  or  technical  flaws 
in  the  statement."— Egbert  Ray  Nichols,  "A  Historical  Sketch  of  Intercollegiate 
Debating:  I/'  Quarterly  Journal  of  Speech,  XXII  (April,  1936),  218. 

10.  Trueblood,  op.  cit.,  p.  387. 

11.  Ibid.,  p.  390. 

12.  Nichols,  op.  cit.,  p.  218. 

13.  Vidette-Reporter  (Iowa  City),  April  15,  1893. 

14.  Vidette-Reporter  (Iowa  City),  November  16,  1893. 

15.  Nichols,  op.  cit.,  p.  217. 

16.  "Intercollegiate  Debating,"  Educational  Review,  XXI  (March,  1901),  245. 

17.  Daily  lowan  (Iowa  City),  April  1,  1899. 

18.  J.  Jeffery  Auer,  "Debate  Goes  to  Town,"  Oberlin  Alumni  Magazine,  XXXV 
(May,  1939),  8. 

19.  Ibid. 

20.  Egbert  Ray  Nichols,  "A  Historical  Sketch  of  Intercollegiate  Debating:  II," 
QJS,  XXII  (December,  1936),  591. 

21.  Coaching  had  become  so  general  by  1915  that  Professor  Frank  H.  Lane  of 
the  University  of  Pittsburgh  felt  moved  to  contribute  an  article  for  the  first  issue  of 
the  Quarterly  Journal  of  Public  Speaking  asking  just  how  far  the  faculty  member 
should  go  in  aiding  the  student  debater.  'Faculty  Help  in  Intercollegiate  Contests," 
Quarterly  Journal  of  Public  Speaking,  I  (April,  1915),  9-16. 

22.  Ibid.,  pp.  595-596. 


23.  For  a  detailed  account  of  the  history  of  Delta  Sigma  RIio  see  The  National 
Society  of  Delta  Sigma  Rho;  History,  Constitution,  General  Regulations  (rev.  to 

24.  The  Forensic  (March,  1923). 

25.  Intercollegiate  Debates,  IV,  429. 

26.  Editor's  Note:  Professor  A.  Craig  Baird,  co-author  of  this  article,  as  director 
of  forensics  at  Bates  College  in  1921,  was  responsible  for  this  first  international 

27.  For  a  detailed  account  of  this  first  international  debate  see  The  Gavel  of 
Delta  Sigma  Rho,  IV  (October,  1921),  6. 

28.  Vidette-Reporter  Iowa  City),  January  14,  1897. 

29.  Iowa  Alumnus  (Iowa  City),  XVIII  (May,  1921),  252. 

30.  For  a  review  of  earlier  Roosevelt  and  Bryan  criticisms  see  F.  G.  Moore's 
"Where  Men  Debate  Beliefs  Not  Statistics,"  The  Outlook,  CXXXII  (1922),  55-56. 

31.  H.  S.  Woodward,  "Debating  Without  Judges/'  QJPS,  I  (October,  1915), 

32.  "Development  of  Intercollegiate  Debating  in  the  United  States,  Including  a 
Specific  Study  in  Northwestern  and  Chicago  Universities,"  unpublished  M.A.  thesis, 
Northwestern,  1926. 

33.  For  a  summary  of  the  Wells-O'Neill  discussion  see  H.  N.  Wells  and  J.  M. 
O'Neill,  "Judging  Debates,"  Quarterly  Journal  of  Speech  Education,  IV  (January, 
1918)  ,76-92. 

34.  For  a  discussion  of  open  forum,  decisionless  debating  as  practiced  through- 
out the  Middle  West  during  the  period  immediately  following  World  War  I  see 
"The  Decisionless  Debate  with  the  Open  Forum,"  QJSE,  VII  (June,  1921),  279-291. 

35.  For  a  review  of  the  arguments  advanced  in  favor  of  the  "expert  critic  judge" 
method  by  its  chief  advocate,  see  L.  R.  Sarett,  "The  Expert  Judge  of  Debate," 
QJPS,  III  (April,  1917),  135-139. 

36.  For  an  analysis  and  comparison  of  the  American  and  British  styles  of  de- 
bating see  A.  Craig  Baird,  "Shall  American  Universities  Adopt  the  British  System 
of  Debating?"  QJSE,  IX  (June,  1923),  215-222. 

37.  For  a  discussion  of  the  educational  values  of  international  debating  see  A. 
Craig  Baird,  "How  Can  We  Improve  International  Debating?"  QJS,  XXXIV  (April, 
1948),  228-230. 

38.  For  a  detailed  explanation  of  the  "Oregon  Plan"  by  its  founder  see  J.  S. 
Gray,  "The  Oregon JPlan  of  Debating,"  QJSE,  XII  (April,  1926),  175-180. 

39.  F.  B.  Ross,  "A  New  Departure  in  Forensics,"  The  Forensic  of  Pi  Kappa 
Delta  (November,  1923). 

40.  Nichols,  op.  cit.,  p.  272. 

41.  Syracuse  University,  according  to  Nichols,  first  used  this  technique  during 
the  1933-1934  season.  Soon  thereafter  Pi  Kappa  Delta  began  sponsoring  a  student 
legislative  assembly  as  a  regular  feature  of  its  national  conventions.— Nichols,  op. 
cit.,  pp.  277-278. 

In  file  spring  of  1939  Delta  Sigma  Rho  staged  in  Washington,  D.  C,3  the  first 
of  a  continuing  series  of  national  student  congresses,  held  biennially. 

Speech  Education  in 
Nineteenth-Century  Schools 


The  history  of  education  during  the  nineteenth  century  in  the  United 
States  presents  an  interesting  story  of  changing  philosophies  and  meth- 
ods which  in  many  respects  seems  to  reflect  European  patterns  of  edu- 
cation. Thejiin^teenth  centoy^witnessed  the  rise  of  the  public  school 
systeH^as-we-iiiQw^it  today,  but  neither  its  development  nor  the  part 
played  in  it  by  speech  education  can  be  understood  without  a  glance 
at_Amjpjican  education  prior  to  1800. 

Seventeenth  and  Eighteenth  Centuries 

New  Englanders,  who  from  the  seventeenth  through  the  nineteenth 
centuries  led  the  country  in  most  educational  innovations  and  improve- 
ments, had  a  deep  respect  and  zeal  for  learning  as  a  "bulwark  of  Church 
and  State."  Hence  they  confronted  the  problem  of  establishing  a  sys- 
tem of  education  which  would  perpetuate  their  faith  both  by  training 
young  men  for  the  ministry  and  by  educating  all  children  for  member- 
ship in  a  sect.  The  colonists  set  up  an  educational  system  typically 
British;  it  consisted  of  some  training  in  religion  and  reading  by  the  par- 
ents or  the  apprentice-master  (later "by  a  town  school  master),  a  Latin 
grammar-school  in  larger  places,  and  an  English-type  college  to  prepare 
students  for  the  ministry.  "As  in  England  also,  the  system  was  voluntary, 
the  deep  religious  interest  which  had  brought  the  congregation  to  Amer- 
ica being  depended  upon  to  insure  all  the  necessary  education  and  reli- 
gious training."  1 

The  famous  Massa^usetts  Laws  of  1642  and  1647  are  considered 
basic  to  the  foundation  of  our  national  system.  The  first  merely  required 
the  councilman  to  check  from  time  to  time  to  see  if  the  children  were 
being  taught  to  "read  and  understand  the  principles  of  religion  and  the 



capital  laws  of  the  country."  The  second,  based  upon  German  and 
Dutch  precedent  rather  than  upon  English,  made  the  building  of 
schools  mandatory.  Accordingly,  Massachusetts  soon  had  elementary 
schools  for  all  its  children  and  secondary  schools  in  larger  towns.  Other 
New  England  states  soon  followed  this  example.  George  Martin,  late 
nineteenth-century  historian,  says  that  the  ideal  was  neither  paterna- 
listic nor  socialistic: 

The  child  is  to  be  educated,  not  to  advance  his  personal  interest,  but  because 
the  State  will  suffer  if  he  is  not  educated.  The  State  does  not  provide  schools 
to  relieve  the  parent,  nor  because  it  can  educate  better  than  the  parent  can, 
but  because  it  can  thereby  enforce  the  obligation  it  imposes.2 

Elsewhere  the  American  pattern  varied.  TheJ^ddle_Adantic  states 
favored  the  parochial  type  of  school  and  later  offered  more  opposition 
to  the  establishment  of  the  public  school  system.  In  the  South,  the 
wealthy  were  largely  instructed  by  private  tutor  and  then  sent  to  Eng- 
land for  their  college  years  while  the  poor  received  their  only  instruc- 
tion at  home  or  in  charity  schools.  Cubberley  states  that  "classes  in  so- 
ciety and  negro  slavery  made  common  schools  impossible,  and  the  lack 
of  city  life  and  manufacturing  made  them  seem  largely  unnecessary." 3 

During  the  Revolutionary  period  most  grammar  schools,  academies, 
and  colleges  were  closed  or  were  kept  open  only  intermittently.  Not 
until  the  1820's  do  we  find  any  appreciable  consciousness  of  education. 
Horace  Mann  accounted  for  the  hiatus  by  noting  that  the  talents  of  our 
most  able  men  had  been  engrossed  in  the  details  of  our  struggle  for 
existence  and  the  problems  of  setting  up  a  new  government  without 
precedence  in  the  world.4  Furthermore,  an  agricultural  society  was  far 
more  concerned  with  survival  than  with  education  or  leisure.  After  the 
War  of  1812  Americans  began  to  think  of  themselves  as  a  definite,  dy- 
namic, democratic  nation  and  to  take  cognizance  of  the  value  of  educa- 
tion. In  this  respect,  however,  neither  the  people  nor  the  states  were  as 
farsighted  as  the  federal  government  had  been.  The  Land  Ordinance 
of  1785  and  later  Congressional  acts  had  given  80,000,000  acres  of  land 
to  the  public  schools;  yet  even  in  the  early  decades  of  the  nineteenth- 
century  education  was  left  largely  in  the  hands  of  the  church  or  of 
private  individuals.  Any  new  interest  in  education  led  to  the  establish- 
ment of  academies  and  colleges  rather  than  of  schools  for  the  general 

Educational  Importations  During  the  Nineteenth  Century 

Although  contemporary  educational  thinking  in  Europe  had  been 
affected  by  the  philosophies  of  Rousseau,  Locke,  Pestalozzi,  and  others, 
the  only  American  importations  during  1800-1820  were  those  concerned 


with  the  inexpensive  expansion  of  educational  opportunities  rather 
than  with  the  improvement  of  teaching  methods  and  techniques.  Chief 
among  these  importations  were  the  Infant  School,  the  English  charity- 
school  subscription  societies,  and  the  Lancasterian  system.  The  Infant 
School  gradually  replaced  the  older  Dame  Schools  and  finally  led  to 
our  public  school  primary  departments;  the  school  societies  played  a 
sizeable  role  in  our  educational  history  until  the  middle  of  the  century; 
and  the  Lancasterian  system,  or  monitorial  school  as  it  was  usually 
termed  in  the  United  States,  maintained  a  certain  popularity  for  a  quar- 
ter of  a  century.  Because  of  its  extremely  low  cost  (about  $1  to  $3  per 
pupil  per  year ) ,  it  made  education  for  all  men  within  the  reach  of  the 
populace.5  From  such  beginnings,  education  in  the  nineteenth  century 
developed.  Although  teachers  and  schools  differed  in  their  philosophies 
and  methods,  one  is  able  to  discern  certain  overall  trends  apparent  dur- 
ing the  century. 

Common  Schools  from  1800  to  1825 

During  this  period  the  common  schools,  i.e.,  what  today  we  call  the 
elementary  system,  represented  approximately  the  same  type  of  educa- 
tion found  in  the  early  colonies  as  well  as  in  Europe  under  the  Refor- 
mation several  centuries  earlier.  Actually  the  times  demanded  no  more 
than  this.6 

Usually  the  schools  and  their  equipment  were  of  the  poorest  type. 
Many  of  the  teachers  were  extremely  young,  untrained,  and  inexpe- 
rienced. The  entire  curriculum  of  most  schools  consisted  of  reading, 
writing,  spelling,  and  sometimes  a  little  arithmetic,  all  taught  in  the 
language  of  the  people.  Many  parents  considered  any  further  education 
"highly  injurious  for  practical  life."  7 

Reports  on  early  schools  indicated  that  most  of  the  day  was  devoted 
to  reading  and  spelling,  for,  as  Boone  remarks,  "Spelling  at  first  was  not 
distinct  from  reading;  or  rather,  reading  was  not  differentiated  from 
spelling."  8  Furthermore,  all  reading  remained  essentially  oral  until 
the  twentieth  century.  Thus  speech  education  in  elementary  classes  was 
associated  with  oral  reading  where  the  greatest  emphasis  was  consist- 
ently placed  upon  aspects  of  audibility,  articulation,  enunciation,  and 
pronunciation.  Bodily  action  received  very  little  attention.  Toward  the 
middle  of  the  century  we  find  an  emphasis  being  placed  upon  under- 
standing the  material  read. 


Emphasis  Upon  Reading 

Some  conception  of  the  importance  of  reading  in  the  grades  may  be 
gained  from  the  following  quotation  from  the  1821  course  of  study  for 
primary  grades  in  Boston: 

The  fourth  or  youngest  class  shall  stand  up  with  due  ceremony  at  as  great  a 
distance  from  the  instructor  as  possible,  and  read  with  a  distinct  and  audible 
tone  of  voice  in  words  of  one  syllable.  No  one  of  this  class  shall  be  advanced 
to  the  third  or  higher  class  who  cannot  read  deliberately  and  correctly  in 
words  of  one  or  two  syllables. 

No  one  in  the  third  class  shall  be  advanced  to  the  second  who  cannot  spell 
with  ease  and  propriety  words  of  three,  four,  and  five  syllables,  and  read  all 
the  reading  lessons  in  Kelly's  Spelling-book, 

No  one  of  the  second  class  shall  be  advanced  to  the  first  class  who  has  not 
learned  perfectly  by  heart,  and  recited,  as  far  as  practical,  all  the  reading 
lessons  in  Kelly's  Spelling-book,  the  Commandments,  and  the  Lord's  Prayer; 
all  the  stops  and  marks,  and  their  uses  in  reading;  and  in  Bingham's  Spelling- 
book  the  use  of  common  abbreviations  . .  .  the  use  of  numbers  and  letters 
used  for  numbers  in  reading;  the  catalogue  of  words  of  similar  sound,  but 
different  in  spelling  and  signification;  the  catalogue  of  vulgarisms,  such  as 
chimney,  not  cMmbley—vinegar,  not  winegar,  etc. 

Not  one  of  the  first  class  shall  be  recommended  by  the  examining  committee 
to  be  received  into  the  English  grammar  schools,  unless  he  or  she  can  spell 
correctly,  read  fluently  in  the  New  Testament,  and  has  learned  the  several 
branches  taught  in  the  second  class;  and  also  the  use  and  nature  of  pauses, 
and  is  of  good  behavior.  And  each  of  the  scholars,  before  being  recom- 
mended, shall  be  able  to  read  deliberately  and  audibly,  so  as  to  be  heard  in 
any  part  of  the  grammar  schools.9 

Children  were  taught  to  read  by  the  slow  and  painful  process  of 
mastering  the  alphabet,  the  ab's  (ab,  eb,  ib,  ob?  ub,  ac?  ec,  ic,  etc.),  tiben 
words  of  one  syllable,  of  two,  of  three,  etc.  The  best  description  we 
found  of  this  process  was  quoted  from  Rev.  Burton's  The  District  School 
as  It  Was.10 

Procedures  in  oral  reading  seem  to  have  been  just  as  mechanical,  for 
skill  in  performance  was  gauged  not  by  the  ability  to  convey  meaning 
but  by  the  ability  to  "speak  up  loud"  and  "mind  the  stops  and  marks/' 
This  last  expression,  frequently  found  in  the  literature,  meant  that  the 
child  was  taught  to  pause  long  enough  to  count  one  at  a  comma,  two  at 
a  semi-colon,  three  at  a  colon,  and  four  at  a  period.  Such  an  impersonal 
procedure  undoubtedly  served  a  utilitarian  purpose  because  frequently 
the  entire  class  read  aloud  together.  Reading  in  unison  may  have  been 
the  outgrowth  of  a  similar  and  popular  method  of  teaching  spelling,  for 
the  two  were  always  closely  integrated.  In  addition  to  the  two  injunc- 
tions previously  mentioned,  the  children  were  also  taught  to  pay  care- 
ful attention  to  pronunciation  and  enunciation  and  to  read  fast  enough 


to  cover  a  sizeable  amount  of  material.  Such  were  the  "guide  posts"  to 
good  oral  reading  in  the  early  part  of  the  nineteenth  century.11  Samuel 
G.  Goodrich  in  his  memoirs  of  this  period  notes  that  such  reading  gen- 
erally was  performed  "without  a  hint  from  the  master"  and  that  "repe- 
tition, drilling,  line  upon  line,  precept  upon  precept,  with  here  and  there 
a  little  touch  of  the  birch— constituted  the  entire  system."  12 

Much  of  the  responsibility  for  this  mechanical  approach  should  be 
placed  upon  the  inadequacy  of  teachers  and  the  barren  curriculum 
which  reflected  not  only  the  earlier  European  pattern  but  also  a  pioneer 
life  which  offered  few  cultural  advantages.  Textbooks  used  at  the  time 
placed  considerable  emphasis  upon  delivery.  Marceline  Erickson  who 
analyzed  152  readers  used  from  1785  to  1885  found  that  a  large  num- 
ber of  them  placed  major  importance  upon  pronunciation  and  voice.13 
The  elocutionary  movement  of  the  eighteenth  and  nineteeth  centuries 
played  its  part  also.  The  elocutionists  stressed  the  importance  of  oral 
presentation  in  delivery  and  felt  that  it  should  be  of  primary  concern 
to  the  teacher.14  In  addition,  the  popular  monitorial  plan,  by  which  the 
teacher  instructed  the  older  children,  each  of  whom  in  turn  taught  the 
younger  ones,  may  have  encouraged  the  teaching  of  delivery.  When  a 
teacher  keeps  but  one  step  ahead  of  his  class,  he  must  have  very 
definite  information  about  what  and  how  he  will  teach.  For  such  young 
instructors,  drill  procedures  in  pronunciation  and  enunciation  should 
not  have  presented  real  difficulty.  Neither  would  the  injunction  to 
"speak  up  loud"  and  to  cover  a  large  amount  of  material  have  proved 
troublesome.  If  we  may  accept  contemporary  reports,  presentation  of 
the  thought  or  mood  of  a  selection  was  never  a  major  concern  except  in 
a  few  schools  and  therefore  it  placed  no  stumbling  block  in  the  path  of 
the  neophyte  teacher.  What  could  be  simpler  then  than  to  confine  one's 
helpful  comments  to  "Pause  for  the  count  of  one  at  a  comma,  two  at  a 
semicolon,  etc."? 

New  Authors  in  the  Nineteenth  Century 

A  survey  of  textbooks  used  in  the  early  days  would  indicate  some 
of  the  emphases  we  have  suggested.  Noah  Webster,  in  a  letter  to  Henry 
Barnard,  stated  that  before  his  reader  was  published  in  1785  most  of 
the  books  used  had  been  the  Bible,  Testament,  Psalter,  and  Thomas 
Dilworth's  Spellingbook,  originally  issued  in  1740.15  William  B.  Fowle 
also  mentioned  the  reading  lessons  found  in  early  spellers  by  Moore, 
Fanning,  and  Perry.16  The  highly  moral  content  of  readers  undoubtedly 
can  be  traced  to  the  early  religious  fervor  of  the  colonists  as  well  as  to 
the  great  religious  awakening  in  England  and  America.  The  following 
reading  lesson,  which  followed  the  mastering  of  one-syllable  words  in 


Dilworth's  speller,  will  indicate  how  textbooks  fulfilled  their  moral 

No  Man  may  put  off  the  Law  of  God 
The  Way  of  God  is  no  ill  Way. 
My  Joy  is  in  God  all  the  Day 
"    Ian  is  a  Foe  to  God. 

My  Joy  is 
A  bad  Ma 

Most  of  the  eighteenth-century  readers  had  been  by  English  authors 
but  William  B.  Fowle  noted  that,  during  the  revival  of  common  schools 
following  the  Revolution,  textbooks  by  Webster  and  Bingham  super- 
seded all  previous  ones.  Martin  accounts  for  their  popularity  by  saying 
that  both  their  titles  and  their  content  appealed  to  the  national  spirit 
fostered  in  America.17  Although  these  authors  remained  extremely 
popular  far  into  the  nineteenth  century,  other  authors  appeared  upon 
the  scene,  including  Fowle,  Enfield,  Murray,  Scott,  Leavitt,  Adams, 
Pierpont,  and  Cooke.  The  1832  American  Annals  of  Education  listed 
28  readers  published  before  1804  and  102  readers  published  by  1832.18 

If  the  schools  had  followed  the  better  textbooks  of  the  period,  me- 
chanical and  stereotyped  procedures  might  not  have  dominated.  For 
example,  the  popular  Columbian  Orator  by  Caleb  Bingham  suggested 
among  other  things  that  the  initial  impression  of  yoice  and  body  was 
important  to  an  audience,  that  one  should  adjust  the  voice  to  the  size 
of  the  room  and  vary  both  the  rate  and  pitch  so  as  to  avoid  monotony 
and  an  affected  variety,  that  one  should  have  variety  in  position  and 
use  gesture,  and  that  one  should  read  as  he  would  speak  if  he  "could 
arrive  at  that  exactness."  Unfortunately,  not  many  teachers  followed 
such  precepts  in  their  classes;  practice  was  not  as  good  as  precept. 

Secondary  Schools  from  1800  to  1825 

Secondary  schools  continued  to  reveal  a  wide  variance  from  the  ele- 
mentary in  curriculum  offerings  and  in  opportunities— a  condition  which 
had  also  existed  under  the  European  church-controlled  system  both 
before  and  after  the  Reformation.  The  influence  of  European  humanism 
was  evident  in  the  emphasis  given  to  Latin,  Greek,  classical  literature, 
and  rhetoric.  These  studies,  prominent  in  the  early  Latin  grammar 
schools,  continued  as  the  staples  of  our  educational  system  well  into 
the  nineteenth  century.  This  type  of  classical  education,  which  had  been 
established  within  two  decades  after  the  landing  of  the  Pilgrims,  un- 
doubtedly reflected  popular  demand.  In  1640  one  out  of  every  two  hun- 
dred persons  in  New  England  was  a  college  graduate! 19 

The  academies,  started  about  1750  and  reaching  their  peak  of  im- 
portance during  the  1820's,  reflected  the  later  humanism  of  northern 


Europe, -a  -humanism  essentially  more  democratic  both  in  curricular 
programming  and  in  its  aim  at  improving  the  lives  of  more  than  merely 
the  select  few.  This  type  of  secondary  education  was  devoted  less  to 
the  training  for  the  ministry  than  to  preparation  for  more  ordinary 
vocations.  It  reflected,  more  than  the  Latin  grammar  school  had  done, 
the  general  secularization  of  the  Renaissance  as  apart  from  one  of  its 
phases,  the  Reformation.  If  the  realism  and  rationalism  of  the  seven- 
teenth and  eighteenth  centuries  influenced  our  educational  system,  the 
effects  are  probably  to  be  seen  in  the  academies.  We  believe,  however, 
that  their  broadened  curriculums  were  more  directly  the  outgrowth  of 
American  minds,  like  Franklin's,  which  recognized  the  need  for  a  type 
of  training  directly  useful  to  the  citizens  of  our  continent. 

A  few  examples  drawn  from  school  statutes  show  the  trend  and  char- 
acter of  formal  education  in  speaking  and  reading.  The  "Regulations 
for  Government  of  the  School  on  Federal  Street"  stated  that  "public 
Reading  and  Recitation  be  instituted,"  and  that  "a  Public  Speaking  [be 
held]  as  often  as  the  Trustees  shall  see  fit  to  order  or  permit  them."  The 
1832  printed  regulations  for  the  Boston  Latin  Grammar  School  required 
that  "Reading  English,  both  in  prose  and  verse,  with  readiness  and  pro- 
priety, shall  be  considered  essential  to  every  class."  "Oratory"  and 
"declamation  and  exercises  of  a  forensic  kind"  were  taught  at  Exeter 
while  at  Leicester  "Reading  and  spelling  were  strongly  recommended , . . 
as  at  least  a  weekly  exercise  in  the  upper  school"  and  public  speaking 
was  "among  the  first  branches  taught  in  the  English  department."  Here 
Scott's  Lessons  in  Elocution  was  used  for  the  first  class  mentioned  and 
Blair  for  the  second.20 

The  constitution  of  Andover  for  1808  gives  an  indication  of  what  was 
to  be  taught  in  such  courses  when  it  specifically  mentions  invention, 
disposition,  style,  delivery,  and  memory.  Ebenezer  Porter,  who  held 
the  Bartlett  Professorship  of  Sacred  Rhetoric  at  Andover  from  1813  to 
1831,  indicates  that  his  textbook,  An  Analysis  of  the  Principles  of  Rhe- 
torical Delivery,  was  based  upon  the  requirements  of  1808.  Walker's 
classical  Key  was  used  at  the  Boston  Latin  Grammar  School  and  Blair's 
rhetoric  in  Miss  Pierce's  academy  at  Litchfield.21 

Instruction  in  oral  reading  claimed  a  larger  proportion  of  time  in  ele- 
mentary studies  than  instruction  in  all  aspects  of  speaking  and  reading 
in  the  secondary  school.  Nevertheless,  speech  training  in  the  secondary 
schools  may  have  been  superior  in  quality  for  at  least  four  reasons:  the 
teachers  were  better  educated  (many  academy  teachers  had  M.A.?s); 
on  the  whole  the  teachers  had  a  more  professional  attitude,  first  in  the 
Latin  grammar  schools  and  later  in  the  academies;  secondary  speech 
programs  were  not  limited  merely  to  oral  reading  (Leicester  Academy 
had  "the  art  of  speaking"  and  Exeter  had  "exercises  of  a  forensic  kind," 


to  mention  only  two);  and  the  philosophies  basic  to  secondary  schools 
indicated  an  approach  to  education  which  differed  from  that  in  the 
common  schools.  The  college  influence  upon  the  grammar  school  gave 
it  a  somewhat  classical  slant;  on  the  other  hand,  the  original  concept  of 
education  which  had  promoted  the  academy  produced  a  more  utili- 
tarian type  of  speech  training.  The  close  integration  of  lyceums  with 
academies  in  the  second  quarter  of  the  century  is  but  one  example  of 
school  training  being  put  to  practical  use. 

Extracurricular  Programs  from  1800  to  1825 

Almost  all  schools  employed  some  kind  of  extracurricular  perform- 
ances which  had  their  place  in  speech  training.  The  nature  of  the  per- 
formances varied  with  the  individual  schools  and  reflected  the  age, 
interests,  and  abilities  of  the  students  as  well  as  the  capabilities  of  the 
instructors.  Content  ran  the  gamut  from  spell-downs,  or  similar  per- 
formances of  skill  in  arithmetic,  to  declamations  (original  or  not),  to 
debating,  dialogues,  and  plays. 

Although  prizes  and  awards  for  outstanding  performance  may  have 
been  common,  we  found  only  one  instance  where  ribbon  awards  were 
given  annually  for  superior  ability  in  reading.  Humphrey  reported 
informal  gatherings  of  pupils  from  two  schools,  but  "Quarterdays"  were 
far  more  common.  At  times  these  were  held  at  individual  schools  while 
in  other  places  several  schools  combined  their  talents.22 

Some  critics  felt  that  these  "exhibitions"  were  excellent  because  they 
'"kept  up  interest  all  winter  and  stimulated  both  teachers  and  scholars 
to  do  their  best  in  the  way  of  preparation"  while  others  felt  that  the 
students  were  "encouraged  to  most  vehement  and  obstreperous  mani- 
festations." Many  persons  objected  when  the  schools  put  on  dialogues 
and  dramas  because  their  "theatrical  cast"  was  considered  immoral  in 
several  sections  of  the  country.  Often  the  program  included  a  variety 
of  events— original  and  non-original  declamations,  dialogues,  and  plays. 
We  found  some  records  which  indicated  that  a  complete  day  was  used 
for  such  an  extensive  program.  In  addition  to  these  forms  of  entertain- 
ment, many  academies  had  debating  and  rhetorical  societies.23 

1825  to  1855-Education  for  All 

This  period  witnessed  the  culmination  of  a  general  belief  in,  and  a 
demand  for,  common  education  for  all.  As  a  result,  the  structural  form 
of  our  public  school  system  as  we  know  it  today  was  achieved  by  the 
middle  of  the  century.  The  same  forces  which  helped  to  produce  this 
result  also  affected  the  speech  training  offered  in  the  elementary  and 


secondary  schools.  Earlier  the  Lancaster  system,  the  Infant  School,  the 
Sunday  School,  and  the  City  School  Societies  had  accustomed  the  popu- 
lace to  the  idea  of  common  schools  for  all.  This  idea,  intensified  by 
certain  political,  economic,  and  social  changes  which  began  in  the 
first  quarter  of  the  century,  gave  a  permanent  cast  to  American  educa- 
tion by  1855. 

After  about  1815  the  country  moved  towards  the  abolition  of  class 
rule  and  political  inequalities—a  movement  which  started  in  the  West- 
ern states  where  men  were  accepted  for  their  individual  worth  rather 
than  for  their  social  standing  or  for  their  property.  Politically,  the 
phrase,  "dignity  and  worth  of  the  individual"  took  on  new  meaning. 
With  the  extension  of  suffrage  to  all  men,  rich  and  poor,  came  the  reali- 
zation that  education  was  necessary  to  train  men  as  citizens,  and  not 
merely  as  members  of  the  Church  or  for  the  ministry  or  because  they 
belonged  to  a  particular  class.24 

During  this  same  period  the  growth  of  manufacturing  increased  the 
size,  number,  and  importance  of  cities  whose  populations  then  grew 
more  diversified  in  economic,  religious,  and  social  patterns.  Accord- 
ingly, the  country  witnessed  the  beginnings  of  a  change  from  an  agri- 
cultural to  an  urban  society,  and  this  shift,  coincident  with  the  desire 
for  class  equality,  brought  demands  from  newly  formed  labor  organi- 
zations and  other  groups  for  a  further  expansion  of  educational  oppor- 
tunities and  for  improved  curriculums.  The  second  quarter  of  the 
century  witnessed  the  long  and  successful  struggle  for  a  tax-supported 
school  system— a  struggle  which  was  directly  tied  up  with  the  battle  to 
eliminate  pauper  or  charity  schools  and  church  control  over  education 
—both  of  which  were  deemed  inconsistent  with  the  national  conscious- 
ness of  equality  and  of  non-sectarianism  in  a  democracy.25  Such  changes 
in  the  American  scene  were  of  course  reflected  in  educational  philos- 
ophy. Educators  began  to  popularize  the  needs  of  man  as  an  articulate^ 
person  in  his  practical  world;  and  they  saw  man  as  a  citizen  speaking 
as  well  as  reading. 

Other  forces  gave  impetus  and  new  significance  to  education  in 
speaking  and  reading.  The  Lyceum  movement,  the  growth  of  American 
literature,  and  the  expansion  of  both  school  and  public  libraries  re- 
flected a  maturing  interest  in  information  and  culture.26  In  the  schools, 
accordingly,  teaching  methods  began  to  emphasize  full  and  accurate 
understanding  of  the  printed  page.  Under  the  influence  of  Pestalozzi, 
Mann,  Barnard,  and  others,  there  were  evident,  also,  new  directions  in 
pedagogy  itself.  Teachers  began  to  see  the  child  as  a  many-sided  being, 
not  as  a  moral  being  only.  They  reasoned  that  he  should  understand 
the  basis  of  health,  and  offered  him  physical  training  and  courses  in 
physiology;  they  believed  he  should  understand  the  world  about  him, 


and  began  to  introduce  courses  in  science  into  the  curriculum.  Educa- 
tion took  on  an  "intellectual"  objective. 

Changes  in  Speech  Education 

These  objectives  in  turn  influenced  class  method  and  procedures. 
"Defining"  was  introduced  so  that  the  child  could  be  taught  "the  habit 
of  carrying  this  sense  along  with  the  letters  of  the  word";  spelling  and 
reading  were  integrated  more  meaningfully,  with  spelling  losing  its 
former  place  of  importance  and  becoming  an  adjunct  of  reading;  in 
grammar,  the  common  dependence  upon  memorization  of  rules  with 
little  attention  to  transfer  of  training  was  decried  and  teachers  suggested 
teaching  a  practical  grammar  and  composition  from  everyday  situations. 
They  favored  greater  emphasis  upon  usage  in  both  oral  and  written 
language.  Journals  carried  many  articles  on  vulgarisms,  provincialisms, 
and  improprieties  as  well  as  some  upon  regional  differences.  They  urged 
teachers  to  be  as  careful  of  their  own  speech  as  of  their  students'  since 
it  was  their  duty  to  preserve  the  "purity  of  the  English  language."  27 

The  interest  in  object  lessons  and  visual  education  was  based  upon 
the  philosophy  that  learning  should  be  integrated  with  the  child's  expe- 
rience and  his  everyday  language,  methods  in  keeping  with  contempo- 
rary European  thinking.  The  same  ideas  were  reflected  in  textbooks  and 
material  written  for  the  more  formal  subjects  as  well  as  in  juvenile 
newspapers,  question  and  answer  periods,  and  class  discussions.  This 
appearance  of  discussion,  designed  to  develop  one's  ability  to  think  on 
one's  feet,  was  the  first  indication  of  interest  in  good  listening  habits  and 
conversational  ability.  The  picture  of  classroom  activity,  then,  indicates 
a  definite  trend  toward  speech  training  in  a  broader  and  more  practical 
sense  than  that  implied  in  the  teaching  of  oral  reading  and  declamation. 
The  schools,  nevertheless,  retained  their  interest  in  reading,  which 
continued  to  be  essentially  oral  reading;  articulation,  enunciation,  and 
pronunciation  remained  important  and  show  the  influence  both  of  the 
elocutionary  movement,  as  based  upon  the  work  of  Walker,  Steele  and 
others,  and  also  of  the  American  concern  with  literature  and  culture. 
The  interest  in  culture  and  the  elocutionary  movement  probably  helped 
to  popularize  dictionaries,  and  Walker's,  which  followed  Johnson's  Dic- 
tionary of  the  English  Language  (1755),  was  long  the  recognized  au- 
thority. Gradually,  however,  Webster's  and  Worcester's  superseded  it. 
-The  phonetic  method  of  teaching  reading  came  into  favor  in  the 
lower  grades  and  may  have  accentuated  the  emphasis  upon  articulation 
in  the  upper  grades.  Teachers  were  warned  to  be  neither  "culpably 
negligent ...  or  fastidiously  anxious  about  a  literal  copy  of  Walker's 
ortheopy"  and  that  "pedantry  in  pronunciation  is  more  offensive  than 


vulgarity."  While  regional  differences  were  recognized,  instructors 
were  cautioned  to  teach  pupils  to  avoid  "all  the  provincialisms  which 
may  prevail  in  the  community  in  which  they  have  been  brought  up." 
To  achieve  these  goals,  teachers  used  various  methods.  Some  favored 
daily  phonetic  drill  to  prevent  "mumbling,  clipping,  skipping  habits 
which  are  so  universal  and  so  destructive  to  all  good  reading";  others 
depended  upon  having  students  correct  their  own  errors  through  the 
use  of  the  dictionary;  still  others  suggested  the  value  of  developing 
habits  of  careful  listening  to  make  students  aware  of  articulation,  or  of 
using  music,  a  new  school  subject,  or  of  meticulous  drill  with  the  teacher 
and  pupil  in  turn  reading  the  sentence.28 

Many  teachers,  school  committees,  and  others  interested  in  the 
schools  of  the  period  maintained  that  the  teaching  of  reading  should 
stress  the  understanding  and  communicating  of  thought  more  than 
correct  pronunciation,  articulation,  enunciation,  and  modulation.  The 
two  phrases  which  appeared  most  frequently  in  pedagogy  were  "Read 
as  you  speak"  and  "Convey  the  sentiment  of  the  author."  These  injunc- 
tions seemed  to  be  centered  on  the  key  desire  for  understanding  by 
both  the  performer  and  the  listener,  and  to  indicate  a  deeper  recogni- 
tion of  the  relationship  of  oral  reading  and  speaking  in  the  training  of 
a  literate  populace.  The  older  emphasis  upon  quantity  of  material  was 
replaced  in  many  instances  by  an  almost  fanatical  attention  to  quality, 
and  some  teachers  would  spend  a  half  hour  on  a  few  lines.  The  pupils 
would  "spell  and  define  the  words;  tell  their  synonyms  and  opposites; 
write  and  paraphrase  the  sentence  or  paragraph;  analyze  the  words; 
parse  the  whole  sentence  or  paragraph;  recite  the  history,  geography,, 
biography,  etc.  to  which  there  may  be  a  reference  in  the  sentence."  29 
Comments  by  teachers  and  students  were  to  be  given  not  only  upon 
"faults  in  pronunciation,  pauses,  inflections,  tone;  in  omitting,  substi- 
tuting, or  putting  in  words"  but  also  upon  "any  fault  in  regard  to  the 
general  style  and  execution  of  the  reading,  as  affecting  the  meaning, 
strength,  or  beauty  of  the  passage."  30 

In  general,  there  seems  to  have  been  a  gradually  improving  attitude 
toward  rules.  "P,"  for  example,  suggested  that  instead  of  the  old  "Mind 
your  stops,"  the  teacher  should  say,  "Mind  the  sense;  read  to  the  sense"; 
others  maintained  that  children  needed  "few  rules  and  directions  to 
guide  them  in  the  utterance  of  sentiments  and  emotions  which  they 
understand  and  feel."  The  stress  upon  a  conscious  carry-over  from  the 
style  of  everyday  speaking  into  reading,  the  emphasis  upon  habits  of 
"good  listening"  as  an  aid  to  improving  reading  and  in  developing  the 
individual,  and  the  oft-reiterated  caution  to  have  a  "perfect  conception 
of  the  piece"  or  to  convey  "the  sentiment  of  the  author,"  all  indicate  a 
great  improvement  in  the  teaching  of  reading.  Perhaps  the  basis  for 


these  changes  in  methods  is  to  be  found  in  the  new  interest  in  the 
development  of  the  individual  and  the  recognition  of  the  fact  that  he 
should  be  taught  to  think  as  well  as  merely  to  absorb  what  others  have 
thought.  Nevertheless,  many  critics  continued  to  maintain  that  in  all 
too  many  schools  the  children  did  not  understand  what  they  read  and 
that  they  were  "engaged  exclusively  with  sounds,  mere  words  without 
ideas." 31 

Textbooks  of  the  Period 

Although  the  old  favorites  by  Bingham,  Webster,  and  Murray  re- 
mained in  general  use,  many  new  textbooks  appeared  during  this 
period.  Primers  by  Gaullaudet,  Worcester,  and  Parkhurst  were  highly 
recommended;  readers  by  Leavitt,  Russell,  Pierpont,  Swan,  Fowle, 
Snow,  Emerson,  Abbot,  and  Angell  were  also  popular.  The  famous 
McGuffey  readers,  which  were  still  in  use  during  the  twentieth  cen- 
tury, appeared  in  the  1830*s.  Among  textbooks  for  upper  grades  and 
secondary  schools  which  provided  for  speech  training  we  should 
mention  those  by  Walker,  Barber,  Emerson,  Parker,  Putnam,  Kelly, 
Swan,  and  Mandeville.  Marceline  Erickson's  thesis  reviews  some  of 
these  as  well  as  others  in  the  period. 


Perhaps  another  forerunner  of  modern  speech  training  in  the  schools 
was  "conversation."  This  could  be  "taught  in  connection  with  the  ordi- 
nary recitation  exercise ...  or  we  may  make  it  a  distinct  exercise,  giving 
out  a  subject  as  for  composition/' 32 

This  second,  and  less  prevalent,  type  of  "conversation"  may  have 
developed  because  of  the  opportunities  for  participation  in  actual  dis- 
cussions in  the  lyceums  and  because  the  new  school  libraries  opened 
vistas  beyond  the  confines  of  ordinary  textbooks.  Both  undoubtedly 
enlarged  the  horizons  of  at  least  some  of  the  students. 
JXtol  instBttcSea"  snanpther  term  with  seemingly  the  same  conno- 
tation as  that  of  conversation,  "taught  in  connection  with  the  ordinary 
recitation  exercise."  It  bore  some  resemblance  to  the  "class  discussion" 
of  today  although  the  nineteenth-century  pedagogues  seemed  more 
concerned  with  its  value  as  speech  training  than  seems  the  case  today. 
Such  class  procedure  led  students  not  only  to  a  greater  understanding 
of  material,  but  also  "into  the  habit  of  thinking  and  reasoning  upon 
everything  they  learn."  33  McGuffey  maintained  that  unless  the  child 
were  able  to 

. . .  think  without  embarrassment  in  any  situation  in  which  he  may  probably 
be  placed  . . .  express  His  thoughts  on  any  subject  with  which  he  is  acquainted 


with  accuracy,  and  without  hesitation  .  .  .  generalize  his  knowledge  with 
rapidity,  so  as  to  construct  an  argument,  or  a  defence  ...  he  is  not  educated; 
at  least  he  is  not  educated  suitably  for  this  country,  and  especially  for  the 

We  mentioned  the  fact  that  the  new  libraries  and  the  lyceums  prob- 
ably encouraged  "conversation"  by  providing  material  for  discussion 
and  opportunities  for  participation.  It  is  also  probably  true  that  the 
general  emphasis  upon  understanding  as  contrasted  with  rote  learning 
served  as  a  basis  for  the  introduction  of  "oral  instruction'7  as  a  teaching 
technique  and  for  the  occasional  emphasis  upon  listening.  The  attention 
paid  to  European  philosophy,  the  broadened  curriculum,  and  the  new 
interest  in  the  child  as  a  complete  being  were  probably  other  factors 
which  encouraged  attention  to  conversation.35  "Oral  instruction"  or 
"conversation/'  in  turn,  may  have  also  influenced  the  teaching  of  read- 
ing, for  certainly  the  injunction,  "Read  as  you  speak,"  must  have  become 
more  meaningful  to  students. 

We  consider  the  1820  to  1855  period  significant  even  though  the  only 
"speech"  courses  as  such  were  entitled  declamation  and  usually  ap- 
peared in  the  upper  grades  or  in  secondary  programs. 

The  Secondary  Program 

The  same  forces  which  affected  changes  in  the  common  schools  also 
influenced  the  secondary  programs  of  the  Latin  grammar  schools,  the 
academies,  and  the  public  high  schools.  Challenging  the  position  of  the 
academies  during  the  1820's  the  public  high  schools  appeared  to  satisfy 
the  needs  of  a  democratic  society  and  "represented  a  cooperative  effort 
on  the  part  of  the  people  to  provide  something  for  themselves."  In  gen- 
eral, the  high  schools  proposed  to  prepare  youths  for  commercial  pur- 
suits and  general  living;  the  earliest  ones  "were  entirely  unrelated  to 
the  grammar  schools  , . .  and  to  the  colleges."  By  the  mid-century  mark, 
however,  they  had  begun  to  base  their  entrance  examinations  upon 
grammar-school  subjects  and  during  the  1870's  college  entrance  tests 
were  such  that  a  "good  high  school  course  was  practically  essential." 36 

All  three  types  of  secondary  schools  offered  a  better  type  of  speech 
training  than  that  usually  found  in  the  common  schools.  Elocution  and 
declamation  were  often  listed  as  class  subjects.  In  some  instances,  daily 
classes  were  held;  in  others,  weekly,  bi-weekly,  or  monthly  exercises 
wjgrejhe^  ru